WWE Legend Bruno Sammartino Passes Away At Age 82

Bruno Sammartino revolutionised wrestling

Legendary wrestler Bruno Sammartino of Pittsburgh has passed away at the age of 82. The only details on his passing at this time are that he'd been battling health issues for the past several months, and that he died peacefully.

After leaving Italy with his family following the World War II, Sammartino settled in Pittsburgh. His feats of strength were noticed by local wrestling promoters and eventually he worked his way up to Vince McMahon Sr.'s World Wide Wrestling Federation, grappling at the old Madison Square Garden for the first time in 1960.

Nicknamed The Italian Stallion and The Living Legend, the 5-foot-10, 265-pound wrestler rose to prominence in the 1960s and '70s, when he held the then-WWWF (now WWE) World Heavyweight Championship twice over a 10-year period.

"Being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Madison Square Gardens is the biggest thing in my life", Sammartino told ESPN in 2013.

The WWE has a great obituary and history of Bruno Sammartino on its site and we recommend you read it.

Yet despite the division between the two sides, Sammartino's estranged relationship with WWE came to an end in 2013 when Triple H played a key role in convincing Sammartino to accept an induction to the WWE Hall of Fame.

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Like those born in the Great Depression, who grew up only knowing Franklin Roosevelt as USA 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. The heated grudge match broke box-office records for wrestling events, and Bruno retired from the ring the following year.

- ShinigamE (@WWEBigE) April 18, 2018Bruno is indirectly responsible for where I am today. "Growing up in Pittsburgh, he was my father's hero, and sparked my dad's passion for the business that he passed on to me", Corey Graves added.

A true friend...and one of the toughest people I've ever met.

Our thoughts are with his family and fans during this painful time.

Sammartino is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol, three sons, David, Danny and Darryl, and four grandchildren. An argument can be made that Sammartino was the first WWE superstar, dating all the way back to the late 1950s just as television was taking off.

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