LAS VEGAS – A 51-year-old Ohio man has embraced the Valentine's Day spirit faster than anyone before, giving 7,777 hugs in 24 hours for a new world record.

Jeff Ondash, who sought the squeezes under the costumed alter ego Teddy McHuggin, broke the record Saturday night outside the Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

"When you hug somebody, they all walk away from each other smiling," Ondash said. "They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away; a hug a day — it's just fun."

Ondash said he wanted to become the world's hugging champion to raise money for the American Heart Association during American Heart month.