Inside the Ropes is sad to report that WWE Hall of Famer Superstar Billy Graham has passed away at the age of 79 following a long battle with illness.
Graham, real name Wayne Coleman, was hospitalized back in January with a number of health concerns, and the following months have seen concern for the WWE Hall of Famer grow. His wife Valerie posted an update last week that stated doctors are trying to prepare her for the worst, and he was placed on life support this past week.
News of his death was confirmed by Ric Flair on Twitter. The Nature Boy wrote the following in tribute:
“The Superstar Billy Graham Just Left Us THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR INFLUENCE On My Career!”
The Superstar Billy Graham Just Left Us 🙏🏻 THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR INFLUENCE On My Career! pic.twitter.com/YH0eT2NM4p
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) May 18, 2023
Graham’s passing was also mentioned during tonight’s broadcast of AEW Dynamite, with Excalibur breaking the news on air and sending condolences to his family and friends.
Superstar Billy Graham Is Widely Regarded As One Of The Most Influential Wrestlers Ever
Billy Graham, real name Wayne Coleman began his wrestling career in 1970 after having previously been a bodybuilder, training with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the legendary Gold’s Gym.
After transitioning into life as a professional wrestler, Graham found success in numerous NWA territories as well as the WWWF, which would later become WWE. The star shared the ring with some of the biggest stars in the history of the industry, such as Dusty Rhodes, Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammartino, Harley Race, and Antonio Inoki.
While his relationship with the business and WWE later soured, Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. His influence can also be seen in a number of other greats with Steve Austin, Triple H, and Hulk Hogan also taking parts of Graham’s character and presentation to add to their own.
Hogan’s famous use of “brother” in promos also came from Graham.
Everyone at Inside the Ropes sends our best wishes to Graham’s wife Valerie as well as their family and friends during this difficult time.