WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend “Superstar” Billy Graham has died. He was 79.
The news was confirmed by fellow wrestling icon Ric Flair, who tweeted a tribute to the beloved titan of the ring.
“The Superstar Billy Graham Just Left Us,” Flair wrote. “THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR INFLUENCE On My Career!”
Graham — whose real name was Eldridge Wayne Coleman — died on Wednesday when he was taken off life support after several days,TMZ reports. His family revealed on Monday that he’d been hospitalized and in the ICU for several weeks while battling an unspecified illness.
The outlet reports that Graham’s wife and daughter were with him by his side in the hospital when he died.
Before finding his calling in professional wrestling, Graham was a bodybuilder and played in the Canadian Football League until he began his career in the American Wrestling Association in the 1960s, and made his debut in the World Wrestling Federation (now known as the WWE) in 1975.
Flair is just one of many wrestling legends who were mentored by Graham, who helped shape the careers of Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura, Scott Steiner and numerous others. His last match with the WWE came in 1987, and he was inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
Graham has battled a multitude of health issues over the past two decades, including liver failure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, an infection in his ears and skull, among other conditions that led to him suffering serious consequences before his final hospitalization.
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