Sammartino's wife Carol, and sons, Darryl and Dan were said to have been by his side when he passed away. Bruno would hold the belt for nearly eight years, a record that stands to this day and will likely never be broken in the WWE or any other promotion. I had a lot of my success due to appearing at the Garden. We lived in the mountains for 14 months without much food.
Nicknamed the Italian Superman, Sammartino grew up Italy during the Nazi occupation of World War II.
"Bruno Sammartino proved that hard work can overcome even the most difficult of circumstances".
During his title reign, Sammartino defended his strap against names such as Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon and George "The Animal" Steele. He went on to defeat inaugural WWWF champion Buddy Rogers a few years after his first match in 1963, holding the title for more than eight years.
The man's first championship reign would run for nearly eight years - a record that still holds today. He managed to sellout the venue 187 times.
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Life under those conditions led to Sammartino being physically frail in his early years, so when he and his mother came to the United States in 1950 to join his father, Sammartino became determined to build himself up via weightlifting. In 2013, after years of feuding with the younger McMahon over pro wrestling's turn to more vulgar story lines and its coddling of drug use by prominent stars, he accepted an invitation into the WWE Hall of Fame, with the ceremony held at a ideal locale. He also wrestled through a legitimate broken neck to finish out a big-money title feud against Stan Hansen in 1976. When I bleed, it's my blood and it's real. "I'll miss you, Bruno".
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced the news on its website. "An icon amongst icons", said Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.
"Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man".