Bruno Sammartino, the WWE Hall Of Fame wrestler, has died at the age of 82.
The mayor of Pittsburgh, Pa. (where the Italian-born superstar moved to in 1950), said that “Bruno Sammartino was one of the greatest ambassadors the city of Pittsburgh ever had. Like so many of us, his immigrant family moved here to build a new life, and through his uncommon strength and surprising grace he embodied the spirit of Pittsburgh on the world stage.”
During his reign, the “Italian Superman” was the then-longest reigning world champion in WWE history, holding the title for nearly eight consecutive years, per ESPN. He retired from in-ring competition in 1981, and he was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2013 at Madison Square Garden.
Mars was nicknamed “Bruno” as a child by his father due to his admiration for the wrestler and young Peter’s chubby cheeks (according to sources, Sammartino was around 275 lbs. during his prime).
The two met in 2017 for the first time, and both couldn’t stop singing each other’s praises after meeting.
Mars posted a picture of the two of them together on social media, writing “I was nicknamed after this professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Tonight in Pittsburgh I had the honor of meeting him!” Mars has not commented on the wrestler’s passing.
Rest in peace, Mr. Sammartino.