Wrestling legend Antonio Inoki passed away today at the age of 79. The news was confirmed by Yahoo! News Japan and WWE paid tribute to him during Smackdown.
Inoki, who was lately confined to a wheelchair, founded New Japan Pro Wrestling and had a wrestling career spanning just shy of 40 years.
He made his wrestling debut in late 1960 working for the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance but was fired from the promotion after a planned takeover in 1971. A year later, he went on to found NJPW, a promotion which today remains one of the biggest in the world of professional wrestling.
Inoki was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010 during the weekend of WrestleMania XXVI. He was inducted by Stan Hansen.
After his wrestling career was over, Inoki also had a go in politics and was elected into the House of Councillors in Japan in 1989. His first political stint lasted through 1995 and then had another go between 2013 and 2019 as a member of parliament.