Pro Wrestling Legend Bruno Sammartino Passes Away At 82

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The wrestling world lost a true icon on Wednesday with the passing of Bruno Sammartino, and his death resonated with many current wrestlers who realize the role Sammartino had in blazing a path for them. Sammartino was a second generation Italian-American immigrant who began his wrestling career at 24 with local TV program Studio Wrestling and later went on to compete in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, which became the WWF, now WWE). He held the WWE Championship for a record eight years.

The star power and influence of Sammartino was exemplified by the fact that he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

- Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) April 18, 2018At Wrestlemania 30 I had the chance to meet Bruno Sammartino.

Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013, a moment that marked the end of a longstanding feud with Vince McMahon.

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

Sammartino became a broadcaster on WWE's weekend morning shows before his frustration over the company's direction into campier storylines and an outrage over the drug culture he said had permeated the industry led to a bitter, two-decade split with McMahon. He was 82 years old.

WWE News: 'The Living Legend' Bruno Sammartino dies at 82
Bruno Sammartino dead at age 82

In 1968, he wrestled in three title matches against Ed Farhat, better known as "The Sheik", at Madison Square Garden, with the Sheik winning the first and being disqualified in the second, and Sammartino taking the third in a bloody battle billed as a "Texas Grudge Match".

Following his retirement from the sport in 1981, Sammartino would later serve as a commentator. "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.

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

Sammartino is survived by his wife Carol and his sons, David, Danny and Darryl.

We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sammartino family during this hard time. 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.

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