George “The Animal” Steele Passes Away

We are saddened to report that WWE Hall of Famer George “the Animal” Steele has passed away. He was 79 years old. Recent reports had stated George had been moved to hospice care recently due to failing health.

In December of 2015, Steele underwent major kidney surgery that had to be aborted mid-procedure. His family reported that he had flatlined during surgery and had been dealing with health complications since.

Earlier this week Bob Backlund stated on his Facebook page that he had spoke with George’s wife who informed him that George may not be coming home from the hospital. He leaves behind a wife, daughter, and two sons.

A Beloved Character

George “the Animal” Steele began his career as a heel, and recently the WWE Network released a “Hidden Gem” collection which included George battling Bruno Sammartino in a steele cage.

While managed by Captain Lou Albano he was involved in several comedic sketches where Lou attempted to make George smart through electroshock therapy. In the sketches the electroshock therapy worked and George acted and spoke like a scholar for a short period of time. The electroshocks were then taken too far and George faded back into the “Animal”. Eventually fans began to love George and his character evolved into a good guy. Fans would start to cheer as he would rip open turnbuckles and act like a maniac in the ring.

His infatuation with Miss Elizabeth in the buildup to WrestleMania III helped set the stage for the famous Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat match that year. He would later “adopt” a stuffed animal whom he dubbed “Mine.” He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

Outpouring of Support

Always a well-liked guy behind the scenes, there has been an outpouring of support following news of his death:

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