WWE Legend Bruno Sammartino Passes Away At Age 82

Bruno Sammartino revolutionised wrestling

Bruno Sammartino, the longtime professional wrestling superstar from Pittsburgh, has died, the WWE confirmed Wednesday.

Sammartino was born in Abruzzo, Italy before moving to Pittsburgh, PA as a teenager. He sold out Madison Square Garden 187 times and captured the hearts of fans as one of the longest-reigning world champions for WWF, holding the belt for almost 8 consecutive years.

Sammartino, who retired from the ring in 1981, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

At his time, Sammartino was the most transcendent figure the business had ever seen, and he quickly became one of professional wrestling's most accomplished performers.

Bruno Sammartino in victory after a match in the 1970s. He was known as "The Living Legend" and was a two-time WWWF champion - a predecessor to today's WWE - holding the top championship in the company for over 11 years.

Sammartino began lifting weights at a young age in hopes of becoming one of the strongest men on the planet. He set a world record in the bench press at 565 pounds in 1959 after missing out on joining the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team three years earlier. He had rivalries with Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon and George "The Animal" Steele during his title runs and later wrestled famous grudge matches at Shea Stadium against Pedo Morales and Larry Zbyszko.

Bruno returned to WWE in the mid-80s as a broadcaster alongside Mr. McMahon and as a mentor for his son David, who was just beginning his grappling career.

NIA judge who delivered verdict in Mecca Masjid blast case resigns
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Kurt Angle posted a long tribute to Sammartino on Instagram, which read: "My hometown hero, Bruno Sammartino has passed".

"Bruno is indirectly responsible for where I am today".

In latter years, "The Italian Strongman" was an outspoken critic of the direction the then WWF took, especially during the Attitude Era. He carried himself with dignity, and was always courteous to his fans.

He said on Twitter: "Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man.A true friend.and one of the toughest people I've ever met".

We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sammartino family during this hard time. A true role model and hero.

- Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 18, 2018One of the GREATEST of all time, Bruno Sammartino has left us.

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