Wrestlers Mourn the Death of Bruno Sammartino

Bruno Sammartino has died aged 82 the WWE has confirmed

Bruno Sammartino has died aged 82 the WWE has confirmed

WWE wrote on their website: "WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino passed away at age 82".

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Sammartino was one of the city's greatest ambassadors.

Born in a small Italian mountain town, Sammartino survived a Nazi invasion of his community and eventually joined his immigrant father in Pittsburgh in 1950.

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.

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The two met in 2017 for the first time, and both couldn't stop singing each other's praises after meeting. It took only 48 seconds to become the second-ever WWE champion that night.

This led Sammartino to begin lifting weights and developing his body.

In 1959, weight-lifter Sammartino set a world record by bench-pressing an incredible 565 lbs.

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Sammartino's post-WWE run also saw him stand firm as an outspoken critic of McMahon regarding topics such as steroid abuse, undiagnosed head trauma and the raunchy "Attitude Era" of the 1990s that he felt was wrong within the business he loved. A household name all over the country, the beloved hero defended his title in legendary rivalries against WWE Hall of Famers Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon and George "The Animal" Steele.

He retired in 1981, a year after he defeated his former protégé Larry Zbyszko inside a steel cage at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, in front of more than 35,000 people.

Paul Levesque, a top WWE executive better known in the ring as Triple H, helped the company make peace with Sammartino.

"Bruno is indirectly responsible for where I am today". He was an unbelievable performer, who made his Pittsburgh natives proud. I'm so grateful I had the chance to meet Bruno and tell him how much he meant to my grandfather and the entire Hart family.

Although Sammartino would retire the following year, he would then return as a broadcaster in the 1980s with a then young Vincent Kennedy McMahon. A true role model and hero.

"Through his uncommon strength and surprising grace he embodied the spirit of Pittsburgh on the world stage", Peduto said.

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

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