WWE legend ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham dies at 79

WWE calls him “perhaps the single-most influential performer in WWE history” who influenced countless wrestlers and revolutionized the industry.

LOS ANGELES — WWE Hall of Fame inductee “Superstar” Billy Graham, known for “outrageous” ring attire and colorful interviews, has died at age 79 after a long battle with a series of illnesses.

He had been on life support, according to his wife. 

Graham, whose real name is Eldridge Wayne Coleman, had been battling numerous health issues over the past few months, including an infection, congestive heart failure, diabetes and other ailments, according to updates on a GoFundMe page seeking donations for his care.

Fellow wrestler Ric Flair first shared news about his death on Wednesday. 

“The Superstar Billy Graham Just Left Us,” he wrote. “THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR INFLUENCE On My Career!”

WWE later confirmed the news. 

Graham’s wife, Valerie, has shared updates about  his health on his public Facebook page. She wrote on Monday that doctors wanted to take him off life support, but she refused. 

The performer has struggled with his health for years, writing in his autobiography about a history of drug use that eventually led to him needing a liver transplant. 

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Graham got his start as a bodybuilder in the 1960s and was a friend and training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He became a wrestler later in the 1960s and was a three-time world champion, noted for his nearly 10-month reign after he defeated Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship in 1977.

WWE calls him “perhaps the single-most influential performer in WWE history” who inspired the likes of Hulk Hogan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Scott Steiner. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.

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