Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino dies at 82

Professional Wrestling Legend Bruno Sammartino Has Died

He passed away peacefully with his wife wife and two kids by his side this afternoon.

Sammartino was born on October 6, 1935 in Italy.

The former wrestler held the title for almost eight consecutive years (1963-1971) while with the World Wrestling Federation.

After his time was up the ring, he became an announcer for WWE in the mid 1980s, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

Hansen was mortified at what had happened and nearly didn't call Sammartino, but when he did call him, Bruno told him he knew it was a mistake and accepted his apology.

Even during a time when the prestige of territorial wrestling championships still meant something thanks to how little they changed hands compared to today, Sammartino still stands alone for his longevity and consistency as a top draw. Many wrestlers during his era aimed to connect with fans via World War II-based storylines - heroes and villains alike - but Sammartino could tell his tale without unnecessary embellishment, and the fans ate it up. He racked up many Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Match of the Year awards among other accolades.

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Sammartino, who was 83, began wrestling in the late 1950s and spent more than a decade as the most popular wrestler in the old WWWF.

To try and best explain the impact Bruno Sammartino had on professional wrestling would be hard by today's measures, largely because there are simply no easy modern comparisons. He retired from wrestling in 1981, but returned to the now-renamed WWF a few years later, working as a commentator, but also wrestling on occasion, usually alongside his son David, who was a mid-card wrestler for the company at that time. He joined his immigrant father in Pittsburgh in 1950.

"Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man", professional wrestler Triple H also tweeted.

My thoughts are with his entire family.

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

WWE released the following statement about the passing of Sammartino.

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