WWE wrestler George “The Animal” Steele has stepped out of the ring for good. On Friday morning, the WWE confirmed that Steele had died at 79 years old.
“WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer William James Myers, known to fans as George ‘The Animal’ Steele, has passed away at the age of 79,” the wrestling outfit posted on their website.
Steele was a professional wrestler from 1967 to 1988 and was best known for his “Flying Hammerlock” move and his Neanderthal image in the ring. With his wild man attitude — he would tear up the turnbuckle with his teeth and use the stuffing as a weapon — Steele fast became one of the most recognizable faces of professional wrestling during its heyday in the 1980s. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.
“Long after his in-ring retirement and WWE Hall of Fame induction, George ‘The Animal’ Steele’s name still evoked terror for one generation of WWE fans and warm smiles for another,” the WWE’s post said. “WWE extends its condolences to Steele’s family, friends and fans.”
In his pre-ring days, Steele received a Masters Degree from Central Michigan University and was a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area. He was also diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1988. Steele also appeared in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.
On Friday morning, fellow WWE wrestler, Hulk Hogan took to twitter to share heartfelt sentiments over the Steele’s passing, writing: “George ‘the Animal’ Steel, RIP my brother, only love, only grateful. HH.” See his and more luminaries of the wrestling world’s remembrances below.