WWE Hall of Famer «Superstar» Billy Graham has died at the age of 79.
Wrestling legend Ric Flair broke the news on Twitter on Wednesday.
«Superstar Billy Graham just left us. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR INFLUENCE on my career!» he wrote.
Graham went on life support earlier this week – he would have turned 80 on June 7.
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Graham, whose real name is Eldridge Wayne Coleman, was a Canadian bodybuilder and soccer player before he entered professional wrestling in the late 1960s.
He made his World Wrestling Federation debut in 1975 and was a three-time world champion in various wrestling promotions.
Graham’s last fight took place in 1987, and he then worked as a commentator for the next year.
The wrestler was in a feud with Vince McMahon after he hung up his boots and spoke openly about using steroids, but returned to WWE in 2004, where he was named to the company’s Hall of Fame prior to WrestleMania XX. He made several other appearances with the company until 2009 before not returning until 2015.
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Health problems had plagued Graham for years: He received a liver transplant in 2002, but in 2012 he was diagnosed with cirrhosis and stage three liver disease. He had his toes amputated in August and he was hospitalized with an ear and skull infection in January.
Graham’s most recent GoFundMe update came in April:
«It’s been four months now since Wayne hasn’t been home, been to the rehab center or hospital. Due to ongoing issues with his lack of appetite, he has now lost 80 pounds and subsequently continues to struggle with extreme weakness,» the April 26 update said. «Osteomyelitis infection in his ears, skull and sinus cavity remains his biggest challenge. He receives strong intravenous antibiotics 3 times a day to treat this and the infectious disease doctor says he will need to be on them for at least 3 more months. As As a result of this infection he is currently completely deaf. We are praying this is temporary and will resolve as the infection is treated. He has also suffered intermittent kidney problems and has been on dialysis. This is in addition to Billy having heart problems. and lung problems, bed sores for 4 months and depression.
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Graham has influenced the likes of Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner, Jesse Ventura, Triple H, and Rick Flair.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.