Wrestling legend Billy Graham is no longer with us! The WWE Hall of Famer passed away at the age of 79 on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. He had been battling with a few health issues for some time now.
The pro wrestling champion had been in the ICU for the last couple of months. Continue reading further to know the actual reason behind the death of the WWE legend Billy Graham.
What was the cause behind the demise of Billy Graham?
Unfortunately, Billy Graham whose birth name was Eldrige Wayne Coleman has died. At the time of his passing, he was 79 years old. As of this moment, the exact cause behind his death has not been revealed publicly.
On Monday, the WWE superstar’s wife Valerie shared an update about her husband’s health via a statement put out on his Facebook page. She stated that she had refused to remove his life support.
Then, Graham’s wife Valerie said, “Please urgent prayers needed for my husband. The doctors wanted to remove him from life support tonight, I refused. He’s a fighter and his will is strong even if his body isn’t. God is our hope.”
Soon after, WWE issued a statement that read, “WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham has passed away. A former WWE Champion, Graham’s flashy fashion style, over-the-top interviews and bodybuilder physique created the archetype for a generation of Superstars that followed in his footsteps.”
A part of the statement issued by WWE read, “Graham was perhaps the single-most influential performer in WWE history whose interviews, fashion and physique inspired Hulk Hogan, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura and Scott Steiner.”
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer “Superstar” Billy Graham has passed away. We extend our condolences to Graham’s family, friends, and fans.https://t.co/Qpykpjv616
— WWE (@WWE) May 18, 2023
It further read, “Just as WWE fans flocked to see ‘Superstar’ compete in the ring, so did they love to listen to him pontificate on the microphone, even if he was bad-mouthing the competitors they held dear.” They concluded the statement by writing, “We extend our condolences to Graham’s family, friends, and fans.”
All you need to know about Billy Graham’s health issues
Billy dealt with several health issues during his wrestling career. In his autobiography, he spilled the beans on his medical issues and stated that he had a liver transplant in the year 2002. As per Us Weekly, he had a long history of drug abuse. He continued to have liver problems over the next decade.
Last month, Billy’s family shared that the wrestler had been hospitalized for more than 4 months and had lost 80 pounds while dealing with an infection in his ears, skull and sinus cavity. Last month, it was disclosed that Graham had acute kidney failure and dehydration and that he was battling organ failure.
Who was Billy Graham?
For those of you who are unaware, let us share with you, Billy Graham who was born on June 7, 1943, in Phoenix, Arizona, was a pro wrestler. While growing up, he developed a passion for weightlifting. Back in the day, Steve Reeves and John Grimek were his idols.
During his high school days, Graham was a shot put champion. Soon after, he worked very hard to build his physique. Before becoming a WWE superstar, he worked as a bouncer in various nightclubs in Phoenix, New York, and Los Angeles.
Billy garnered the attention of the viewers when one of his photo shoots with Arnold Schwarzenegger was featured in Joe Weider’s “Muscle and Fitness” magazine.
As per the statement put out by WWE, the wrestling champ trained so much that he was able to bench press 605 pounds, just 11 pounds shy of the world record. He kicked off pro wrestling in the late 1960s. He did wrestling until the year 1987. His wrestling career took a back seat then due to his injuries and health issues. Then, he became a TV commentator.
Throughout his career, the three-time former world champion professional wrestler had won many titles including a 1977-78 title run in the WWWF, which was later renamed as the WWE. He won the WWWF championship from Bruno Samartino in April 1977, however, he lost the title to Bob Backlund the next year in February 1978.
In the year 2004, Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He inspired many WWE stars including Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Billy Graham is survived by his wife Valerie and two children.
Tributes pour in for WWE superstar Billy Graham
Billy’s WWE colleagues paid heartfelt tributes to him on social media and saluted his legacy. WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair mourned the loss of Billy Graham on the social media platform Twitter. He tweeted, “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
The Iron Sheik penned, “The SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM MY BROTHER FOR LIFE. HE WAS THE CHAMPION AND MOST OVER MAN IN THE BUSINESS. HE ALWAYS SHOW ME THE RESPECT. I LOVE HIM I MISS HIM FOREVER.”
THE SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM MY BROTHER FOR LIFE. HE WAS THE CHAMPION AND MOST OVER MAN IN THE BUSINESS. HE ALWAYS SHOW ME THE RESPECT. I LOVE HIM I MISS HIM FOREVER pic.twitter.com/0ddvh86iWH
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) May 18, 2023
Longtime WWE manager and former executive Paul Heyman wrote, “Before Billy Graham, performers in WWWF / WWF/ WWE were known as professional wrestlers. After Billy Graham left his mark, Vincent Kennedy McMahon decided everyone would be a WWE Superstar. A most heartfelt RIP to the man of the hour, the man with the power, too sweet to be sour!”
Before Billy Graham, performers in WWWF / WWF/ WWE were known as professional wrestlers. After Billy Graham left his mark, Vincent Kennedy McMahon decided everyone would be a WWE Superstar. A most heartfelt RIP to the man of the hour, the man with the power, too sweet to be sour! pic.twitter.com/bwL6UQ3c3h
— Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle) May 18, 2023
One fan tweeted, “Billy not only brought pro wrestling but Entertainment along with it each time he competed. Always selling like a Heel is supposed to. Never had a bad performance, and if you got the chance to see him you were in for a treat. thank you Billy.”
Another user chimed in, “I Never got to witness this “SUPERSTAR” just Hearing all the amazinq tributes and seeing all the pics from everyone #RIPSuperstarBillyGraham nothing but love to his family, Friends, and Fans !”
A user went on to say, “R.I.P. Superstar Billy Graham (1943-2023), thanks for many years of great memories. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. #wrestling #Superstar #BillyGraham #WWE”
We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of Billy Graham during this time of difficulty. May his soul rest in peace. Don’t forget to stay tuned with us for the latest updates from the world of showbiz.