Jean Francois Gravelet, better known as the "Great Blondin" was born on 28 February 1824 at St Omer, PasdeCalais, France.In 1859, this 35 year old Frenchman , crossed the Niagara River gorge on tightrope a total of 21 times. He walked across, ran across, crossed in the dark, crossed on a bicycle and crossed on stilts.Blondin carried a small stove with him out on the rope, cooked an egg omelet, and passed it down by rope and basket to the passengers of the Maid of the Mist. On August 17, 1859 Blondin carried his manager, Henry Colcord, on his back over the River Gorge. He had to set the poor man down on the rope 7 times for 7 rest breaks during the crossing. On another occasion, with thousands of spectators watching, Blondin offered to carry the Prince of Wales over the gorge, but he politely declined and went on to become King Edward VII, and there were no other volunteers.He died of diabetes at his "Niagara House" in London, on 22 February 1897. He was 72 years old.