Published: Mon, February 20, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Ivan Koloff Dead At 74

He was 74 years old.

Per PWInsider, we've lost another pro wrestling great, as former WWWF champion Ivan Koloff has died at age 74.

He was born Oreal Perras in Montreal, Canada, in 1942 - and found a passion for wrestling early on, leaving high school at 18 to devote himself full-time to the sport.

He would go on to win the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1971, defeating defending champ Bruno Sammartino by pinfall in a legendary match at Madison Square Garden. In essence, he was the first WWE "transitional" champion, but the fact that he took the title from the beloved and iconic Bruno speaks volumes to his stature in the wrestling world at the time.

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The fierce grappler was honored with the Frank Gotch Award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009.

A few weeks ago, a post from Koloff's Twitter account made by his daughter Rachel Marley indicated that Koloff, who had been living with liver disease for at least 10 years, had gotten a bleak diagnosis on the state of his liver function and required financial help.

Koloff was also an ordained minister, and spent much of his retirement from wrestling traveling the country for appearances and to give his testimony to church groups.

Koloff's death comes just one day after George "The Animal" Steele died of kidney failure.

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