Professional wrestling icon Bruno Sammartino has died at 82. Though he believed it literally at the time, Sammartino would experience fortune and fame first-hand as the longest-reigning WWE Champion and the most beloved competitor in the history of the squared circle.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Sammartino died after being hospitalized in Pittsburgh, PA.
Born in Italy in 1935, Sammartino was a two-time WWWF (now WWE) World Heavyweight champion. He retired from full-time wrestling in 1981, though he would still compete sporadically up until 1988 while also working as a color commentator.
Thank you, Bruno Sammartino, for everything you gave to us.
The wrestler would headline major shows for the promotion, including in Madison Square Garden.
Sammartino, a WWE Hall of Famer, was known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of any era and one of the ultimate good guys in the ring. He would hold the title for another four years.
Bruno Sammartino lived an wonderful life like none other and it was outstanding that at least WWE got to have him take part in some fantastic programming to capture who he really was as a never-ending reminder of Bruno Sammartino, his legacy, and his outstanding personality before he passed. When I was w/him I knew I was w/pure class & greatness. "It's just a little humbling and mind-boggling to be honest", said Sammartino.
WWE extends its condolences to Sammartino's family, friends and fans.