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20 April 2018, 12:58 | Clyde Nash
Bruno Sammartino – Wrestling Icon And Legend – Passes Away At 82
WWE confirmed the Hall of Famer has passed away at age 82 after facing health issues over the last two months. There, he held the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship (WWWF Heavyweight Championship during his second reign) for over 11 years (4,040 days) across two reigns, the first of which is the longest single reign in the promotion's history at 2,803 days.
Sammartino is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol, three sons, David, Danny and Darryl, and four grandchildren.
In 2013, Sammartino told ESPN: "I had a lot of my success due to appearing at the Garden".
On Wednesday, the pro wrestling world mourned the death of one of its most iconic trailblazers in Bruno Sammartino.
Sammartino played the hero with aplomb, battling against numerous greatest heels of his era, including Gorilla Monsoon and George "The Animal" Steele.
The sports entertainer first rose to fame in 1959 when he began working with wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, and in 1963, he became the second-ever WWE Champion.
Like those born in the Great Depression, who grew up only knowing Franklin Roosevelt as US president thanks to his record four terms and 12 years in office, Sammartino had a similar effect in wrestling to many who came of age in the decades which followed.
"Bruno became an overnight sensation, connecting with not only fellow Italians, but also the Latino, Greek, and Jewish communities, successfully bridging the gap in America's melting pot of wrestling fans", the WWE said in a statement. He managed to sellout the venue 187 times. Sammartino suffered a broken neck when he was dropped on his head by Hansen in 1976 at the Garden. A true friend.and one of the toughest people I've ever met.
Sammartino did so while also strongly advocating against any use of performance enhancing drugs, and therefore did not lose an ounce of credibility during any of the numerous PED scandals over the years within the wrestling business.
"Forever a champion. Rest In Peace", tweeted Bret Hitman Hart.
- AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) April 18, 2018Devastating news for the wrestling world.
"Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, honest and wonderful man".
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