Dr. Robert Cade, the man responsible for starting the sports drink industry by inventing Gatorade, died at the age of 80 yesterday due to kidney failure. His death was announced by the University of Florida, where Cade made a living for the past half century.
Beginning in 1965, Cade and researchers at the university began research on how to assist the men’s football teams from losing energy late in games by trying to concoct a drink that would replace electrolytes and carbohydrates lost through sweat. Using $43 worth of supplies, Cade was able to invent the initial lemon flavor of what is now called Gatorade.
After years of success with the product, Pepsi Co. (which now owns the product) has developed more than 50 flavors of the drink internationally, which are sold in over 80 countries. Since 1973, the university has received more than $110 million in royalties from Gatorade.
Longtime Gatorade pounder Adam Honig released a statement today concerning Cade’s death:
“This is a very sad day for Gatorade drinkers worldwide. Robert Cade was an innovator, a gifted genius and a true friend. With his invention of a drink to help athletes re-fuel after a grueling workout, Cade was able to provide the human body with the necessary electrolytes that water has never been able to. Through his earth-shattering drink and the help of a marketing guru, Cade was able to slowly develop Gatorade as we know it and sell it to PepsiCo for an enormous profit. While lemon-lime was the original flavor, it is hard to argue that Citrus Cooler and Tropical have been the tastiest flavors G-rade has ever produced (especially as a remedy for a terrible hangover, combined with a greasy chicken parm hero!). Perhaps if Cade would have pounded an ice-cold 32 ouncer of Glacier Freeze as he felt his kidneys failing, he might still be here today. He will be sincerely missed.”