Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Sammartino was one of the city's greatest ambassadors. Rest In Peace, Bruno. He died peacefully after suffering from health issues for the past few months.
"Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man".
We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sammartino family during this hard time.
Sammartino and Hulk Hogan - the biggest long-term money-making draws in WWE history - tagged together in the "Legend's" final match.
A huge loss. My prayers are with his family.More news: '# 039 & Black Panther; comes to Saudi Arabia as movie Theatre ban ends
Especially popular in the Northeast, Sammartino wrestled for the first time at the "new" Madison Square Garden - the stadium now standing above Penn Station - just eight days after it opened in 1968; he sold out the arena 187 times out of 211 appearances, according to the Post-Gazette.
"Bruno became an overnight sensation, connecting with not only fellow Italians, but also the Latino, Greek, and Jewish communities, successfully bridging the gap in America's melting pot of wrestling fans", the WWE said in a statement.
Hansen was mortified at what had happened and nearly didn't call Sammartino, but when he did call him, Bruno told him he knew it was a mistake and accepted his apology.
- Bret Hart (@BretHart) April 18, 2018Very saddened by the news of Bruno Sammartino's death. Bruno's first reign remains the longest single reign for a champion in WWE history at an astonishing 2,803 days, for a grand total of 4,040.
Born on October 15, 1935, Sammartino grew up in Pizzoferrato, Italy before immigrating to the United States with his family, settling in Oakland, Pa. The brute would get an early tainted victory over Sammartino, and their second battle would have an inconclusive finish, where Sammartino might get some form of revenge but wouldn't quite be able to finish the job because of outside interference or a disqualification.
"Bruno came along in the '60s and he reflected what was going on in terms of the American Dream story", Zbyszko told The Associated Press.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.