Former WWWF champion Ivan Koloff, real name Oreall Perras, passed away earlier today at the age of 74 after a battle with liver cancer.
The man formerly known as The Russian Bear was diagnosed with the liver disease more than 10 years ago but recent tests showed that it was getting worse. Earlier this month, his wife Renae opened up about his medical problems with Mike Mooneyham of The Post and Courier and said that that he has difficulty walking due to weakness in both knees and is experiencing diminished liver function, along with jaundice and shortness of breath. “Doctors say this will only get worse as time goes on,” she said. “There’s really nothing they can do about it except to keep a watch on him.”
Koloff and his wife were planning to visit a specialist next month in Chapel Hill, N.C., for some more consultations.
Koloff, was the one who beat Bruno Sammartino in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, ending Sammartino’s seven-and-a-half-year reign as WWWF Heavyweight champion. A few years ago Koloff joined the growing list of former WWE Superstars who filed a class action lawsuit against WWE for brain injury. The lawsuit is spearheaded by attorney Konstantine Kyros.