The wrestling world is in mourning after news broke that Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino passed away earlier today at the age of 82.
Thousands of tweets with condolences and thoughts about Sammartino took over Twitter during the day, making his name the top trending worldwide with nearly 30,000 Twitter mentions as of this writing. Tons of former and current WWE Superstars also paid their respect to the wrestling legend.
Vince McMahon, who rarely uses the platform, tweeted, “One of the finest men I knew, in life and in business. Bruno Sammartino proved that hard work can overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. He will be missed.”
Triple H, who was the man behind bringing Sammartino back to WWE in 2013, wrote, “Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man… A true friend…and one of the toughest people I’ve ever met. My thoughts are with his entire family.”
Sammartino was a very vocal critic of the company and Vince McMahon throughout the years after he left in 1988 but a very determined Triple H made it his mission to ease the pain and anger that Sammartino had towards WWE and extended a hand of friendship to the former WWWF champion. After months and months of talks, Sammartino finally agreed to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 and there was no better place to do it other than an arena he performed in and headlined numerous times: Madison Square Garden.
A year later, WWE unveiled a bronze statue of Sammartino during WrestleMania Axxess, one of the five that WWE has done over the years along with that of Andre The Giant, the Ultimate Warrior, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair.