The wrestling world reacts to the death of WWE legend Bruno Sammartino

19 April, 2018, 06:26 | Author: Homer Porter
  • Wrestling icon Bruno Sammartino dies at 82

Legendary wrestler Bruno Sammartino of Pittsburgh has passed away at the age of 82.

Olympic gold medalist and WWE star Kurt Angle, a Pittsburgh native, called Sammartino "a hometown hero" who carried himself with dignity and was courteous to fans.

As we previously reported, Sammartino passed away at his home in Pittsburgh at the age of 82 after recently dealing with undisclosed health issues.

Bruno Sammartino in victory after a match in the 1970s.

Sammartino was born in Abruzzo, Italy, in 1935, and grew up in Nazi-occupied territory during World War II.

"Life wasn't always so glorious for The Italian Superman".

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This led Sammartino to begin lifting weights and developing his body. The impressive feat reportedly made wrestling promoter Vincent J. McMahon take notice, leading Sammartino to a career in sports entertainment.

Bruno became an overnight sensation, connecting with not only fellow Italians, but also the Latino, Greek and Jewish communities, successfully bridging the gap in America's melting pot of wrestling fans. After becoming the second-ever WWE Champion by defeating Buddy Rodgers in 48 seconds back in 1963 from Madison Square Garden, Sammartino was able to hold onto the strap for over 2,000 days.

Sammartino played the hero with aplomb, battling against numerous greatest heels of his era, including Gorilla Monsoon and George "The Animal" Steele.

BC-WRE-Obit-Sammartino, 1st Ld-Writethru, 889Professional wrestling great Bruno Sammartino dies at 82AP Photo PAGRE201, PAGRE202, NY158, NY159Eds: Updates.

"The Garden truly was the house that Bruno built, as he sold it out an astounding 187 times". Once Sammartino recovered, his character called for a cage match with Hansen, a battle that saw Hansen bump around the ring like insane and get bloodied so that the crowd of more than 30,000 people at Shea Stadium would go home happy. 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 was known as "The Living Legend" and was a two-time WWWF champion - a predecessor to today's WWE - holding the top championship in the company for over 11 years.

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