Bruno Sammartino Dead at 82

Bruno Sammartino

Bruno Sammartino - one of the world's most popular professional wrestlers who was fondly nicknamed "The Italian Superman" - has died at the age of 82.

Sammartino is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all time and would easily be placed on WWE's Mount Rushmore. The outlet says he He died "peacefully" after recently battling health issues.

With the WWWF reigning as the top wrestling promotion in the NY area, Bruno Sammartino became the company's second world champion, defeating Buddy Rogers on May 17, 1963. Sammartino's first of two WWWF Title reigns lasted over seven years and he was a tremendous draw for the company.

Bruno was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 after a rocky relationship with the company.

Those like me who grew up in the Eighties will likely be familiar with professional wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation.

Bruno Sammartino was the longest reigning champion in the history of wrestling, and his career set an example for the many champions that would come after him. He will be missed. "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 wrote via Twitter. "I was lucky enough to spend some time with Bruno, and the man exemplified class".

Sammartino was one of the greatest athletes to ever take to the squared circle and a central figure in the rise of wrestling in America. "My thoughts are with his entire family", Levesque tweeted. And if you were a huge fan like I was, you'd also be familiar with the name Bruno Sammartino, a WWE Hall of Famer.

Sammartino seconded his son, David, at the inaugural WrestleMania in 1985 for his match with Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. Sammartino and Vince McMahon Sr. decided that the time was right to drop the title and Sammartino was defeated in April 1977 by Superstar Billy Graham.

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