'WWE Hall of Fame' legendary wrestler has died at 82
Veteran wrestler Bruno Sammartino, also known as The Living Legend, was one of the most decorated WWE Champions. He passed away at the age of 82.
Sammartino died at his home in Pittsburgh, after spending nearly two weeks in the hospital. He leaves behind his wife, Carol, as well as their three sons, David, Danny and Darryl; and four grandchildren.
The cause of death is not yet known, but Sammartino suffered from heart complications. He underwent heart surgery in 2011.
As reported by TMZ, Sammartino was the 'longest-ranging champion in WWE' of all time, and he held the title for nearly eight years. His career spanned more than five decades.
WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino dies at age 82 pic.twitter.com/gvkjKjL7GI— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) April 18, 2018
According to WWE, Sammartino was also known as the Italian Superman. He fled with his family from their Nazi-occupied hometown of Pizzoferrato in Italy.
During the war, Sammartino and his mother hid in the mountainous region of Valla Rocco, before joining his father in Pittsburgh in the early fifties.
Sammartino started his career in 1959 when he broke a world record after he bench-pressed 565 pounds. His new claim to fame turned him into a household name.
He broke another record in 1963 when he defeated Buddy Rogers in under 48 seconds. More than 20,000 of his fans gathered at Madison Square Garden for the match.
Nothing today can happen without what he did back then. Rest in power and thank you Bruno Sammartino. pic.twitter.com/JEuHPUh3fJ— Cody (@CodyRhodes) April 18, 2018
Throughout the years, he defended his long-standing titled against veteran wrestlers like George The Animal and Killer Kowalski.
He eventually lost the title, after 4,040 days, to Ivan Koloff. In the mid-eighties, Sammartino's eldest son, David, started to follow in his father's footsteps.
While mentoring his son, Sammartino also continued to face 'WWE's greatest villains' including Macho Man Randy Savage and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
The highlight of his career came in 2013 when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by wrestler-extraordinaire, Arnold Schwarzenegger.