The wrestling world reacts to the death of WWE legend Bruno Sammartino

George Napolitano/MediaPunch/IPXBruno Sammartino was the longest reigning champion in the history of wrestling, and his career set an example for the many champions that would come after him.
  • Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino has died at the age of 82.
  • He will be remembered as one of the greatest champions in wrestling history, with a combined title reign of over 11 years and more than 180 sold out shows at Madison Square Garden.
  • Wrestlers of the past and present paid tribute to Sammartino’s passing and offered messages of condolence on social media.

Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino has died at the age of 82,WWE confirmed on Wednesday.

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. He was known as “The Living Legend” and was a two-time WWWF champion – a predecessor to today’s WWE – holding the top championship in the company for over 11 years. His first reign of 2,803 days remains the longest in the history of WWE.

Sammartino played the hero with aplomb, battling against many of the greatest heels of his era, including Gorilla Monsoon and George “The Animal” Steele. He was the headliner at the first wrestling event held at Madison Square Garden in 1968, and would go on to sell out the venue an astonishing 187 times over the course of his career.

After his career as a wrestler, Sammartino remained close with the WWE, serving as a commentator and mentor, before his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

You can watch a video put together for his Hall of Fame induction below.

Around the wrestling world, performers past and present reached out to offer condolences and share their thoughts on Sammartino’s passing.

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