Wrestling entertainment icon Billy Graham dies at age 79
(Gray News) - A wrestler considered the “archetype” of the superstars that came after him, Billy Graham has died, the WWE announced late Wednesday.
He died just short of his 80th birthday.
Graham transformed wrestling with his “flashy fashion style, over-the-top interviews and bodybuilder physique,” the wrestling company said, inspiring stars such as Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, the WWE noted.
He was born June 7, 1943, in Arizona as Eldridge Wayne Coleman.
Graham entered the wrestling entertainment industry in 1970.
Among his noteworthy achievements, in addition to his style, was taking the championship from rival Bruno Sammartino in April 1977. He held the title for a year.
He retired from wrestling in 1984, becoming a manager and then a color commentator.
Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Earlier this week, it was noted on his Facebook page that doctors wanted to take Graham off life support, but his wife refused, saying “he’s a fighter and his will is strong even if his body isn’t. God is our hope.”
A cause of death wasn’t disclosed.
Copyright 2023 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.