Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Medical | By Bryan Strickland

Bruno Sammartino Dies at 82

Bruno Sammartino Dies at 82

Bruno Sammartino, a WWE Hall of Famer who is not only known as "The Living Legend", but is seen by many as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, has passed away. The outlet says he He died "peacefully" after recently battling health issues.

Born in Italy and a survivor of German occupation during World War II, Sammartino moved to Pittsburgh as a teenager in 1950 and began weight training as a way to ward off bullies, who attacked him because of his spindly frame and trouble with English.

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 would become quite the staple at the Garden holding the championship for almost eight years, the longest reigning champion in professional wrestling history.

Sammartino returned to the WWE in 2013 when he was inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame.

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.

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The long-standing feud between Sammartino and WWE was resolved in the early 2010s, culminating in a long-overdue WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2013. The years after Sammartino transitioned into a broadcasting role. Piper's invectives continued once Sammartino entered the ring, but Sammartino didn't decide to come out of retirement until Piper got so angry that he used a derogatory epithet to insult Bruno.

But after over two decades, he and WWE mended fences.

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

The wrestler is survived by his wife Carol and his sons David, Darryl and Dan Sammartino.

Tributes to the wrestling star have already started pouring in, with Triple H describing Sanmmartino as a "true icon" and admitting to being devastated by his passing. An argument can be made that Sammartino was the first WWE superstar, dating all the way back to the late 1950s just as television was taking off. He was the most vibrant and spirited person I met that week, and he shared with me invaluable wisdom about the business and life as a whole.

Our thoughts are with his family and fans during this painful time.

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