WWE Hall of Famer Superstar Billy Graham, real name Eldridge Wayne Coleman, has passed away at 79 years old.
Graham was battling a myriad of very serious health issues that had him in the hospital for almost five months and resulted in him recently being put on life support.
Graham was born in Paradise Valley, Arizona, on June 7, 1943 and is a three-time world champion in major professional wrestling promotions. He began his wrestling career in the early 1960s, and quickly rose through the ranks of the National Wrestling Alliance. In 1974, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where he quickly became one of the biggest stars in the company.
As an award-winning bodybuilder, he was a training partner and close friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is most remembered for revolutionizing the interview and physique aspects of the professional wrestling industry, and for his charismatic performance style.
Graham’s interviews were also legendary. He would often cut promos in which he would boast about his superiority, and he would often challenge his opponents to face him in the ring. His interviews were so popular that they were often featured on television shows and in magazines.
In 1977, Graham defeated Bruno Sammartino to win the WWWF Heavyweight Championship. He held the title for nearly 10 months, and during that time he became one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. He lost the title to Hulk Hogan in 1978, but he continued to be a major star in the WWF for several more years.
Graham left the WWF in 1981, and he wrestled for several other promotions over the next few years. He retired from wrestling in 1987, but he continued to be active in the wrestling business, and he even made a few appearances in the WWE in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.