By Jeff Labrecque
May 20, 2011 at 05:40 PM EDT
Everett Collection

Randall Mario Poffo, better known as Randy “Macho Man” Savage, one of the greatest stars in professional wrestling, was killed in a car accident this morning in Tampa, Fla. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Savage was driving on Route 694 with his wife when his 2009 Jeep Wrangler veered off the road and into a tree. His wife, Lynn, suffered minor injuries, but Savage died later at Largo Medical Center. No other cars were involved, and the FHP does not suspect the accident was alcohol related. He was 58 years old.

Unlike some of his contemporaries who got by with gimmicks, Savage was an incredible athlete. [He hit .254 in four seasons of minor league baseball.] At his peak as a wrestler, Savage was second only to Hulk Hogan in universal popularity, even when he was playing the nastiest of heels. Famous for his flamboyant attire, his entrance music (“Pomp and Circumstance”), his ubiquitous verbal tic (Ohhhhh, yeeeeeaaahhhh!), and his ferocious acrobatic maneuvers in the ring, Savage held the WWF’s Intercontinental title for two years in the mid-1980s. He was managed by the late Ms. Elizabeth, his actual wife at the time, and her intoxicating beauty played a major role in his ongoing rivalry with beastly grappler, George “The Animal” Steele. Over the years, he moved from circuit to circuit, engaged in some great feuds, and was always a major draw.

He parlayed his success into a series of Slim Jim commercials, which captured his outrageous ring persona, and younger audiences were introduced to him in the first Spider-Man film, where he played a demented brawler named Bone Saw who tries to tear Peter Parker apart in a steel-cage match.

The WWE (formerly the WWF) released a statement, saying it was “saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, aka Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage … Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans.”

Former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted his condolences, writing, “RIP Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage — you were one of my childhood inspirations and heroes. Strength, love and prayers to the Savage/Poffo family.”

But it only seems right to give Savage the last word: