Bruno Sammartino, the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time, has passed away at the age of 82 today, WWE reported this morning.
Bruno lived a remarkable life, as he and his mother hid from the Nazis during German occupation in the 1940s before uniting with his father in Pittsburgh in 1950. From there, he focused on weight lifting, which brought him to the attention of Vince McMahon, Sr.
Sammartino was one of the then-WWWF’s marquee attractions, and held the now-WWE Championship for a staggering 4,040 days between his two reigns — a record that will likely never be broken. Sammartino drew hundreds of thousands of people to Madison Square Garden over the years, and according to WWE, has sold out the historic venue 188 times.
Bruno was extremely influential in the building of WWE as a global superpower and has affected the lives of many WWE Superstars. A few of them chimed in to pay their condolences on Twitter.
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. #RIPLivingLegend pic.twitter.com/PNDuQ31Phd
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) April 18, 2018
RIP Bruno,thank you for loving and living our business,only love HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) April 18, 2018
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. #RIPBrunoSammartino #AmericanDream
— Triple H (@TripleH) April 18, 2018
Bruno is undoubtedly one of the greatest ever. My father's favorite wrestler. He's impacted many generations of superstars and will continue to do so. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
— LarsWWE (@LarsSWWE) April 18, 2018
Very saddened by the news of Bruno Sammartino’s death. The term Legend gets thrown around a lot, no one in wrestling deserves it more than Bruno #RIP
— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) April 18, 2018
#RIPBrunoSammartino What a life he lived! God speed Mr Sammartino https://t.co/ZGrgoUkEch
— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) April 18, 2018
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