With AP Photos.Professional wrestling Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino has died. Born in 1935 and raised in the town of Abruzzi, Italy, Sammartino moved to Pittsburgh in 1950, where his parents were already living at the time, as noted by Cleveland.com. He held the title for almost eight years - the longest reign in the organization's history.
Rest in peace, Bruno Sammartino.
Some fans in the crowd were so shocked by Sammartino's loss that some fans were even crying.
Like those born in the Great Depression, who grew up only knowing Franklin Roosevelt as US president thanks to his record four terms and 12 years in office, Sammartino had a similar effect in wrestling to many who came of age in the decades which followed. Sammartino beat Buddy Rogers to win the WWWF title and went on to hold the championship for more then seven years, or 2,803 days.
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Sammartino was one of the greatest athletes to ever take to the squared circle and a central figure in the rise of wrestling in America.
In a statement published on WWE.com, the American company today said it was saddened to learn of his passing. 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.
"Bruno is indirectly responsible for where I am today".
Triple H tweeted: "Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man". 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.
We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sammartino family during this hard time.