WWE legend Ivan Koloff, AKA The Russian Bear passes away – Koloff died at the age of 74 after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
Ivan Koloff (WWE.com)
WWF legend Ivan Koloff, nicknamed The Russian Bear has died at the age of 74 after being diagnosed with liver cancer. His greatest moment came in 1971 when he defeated Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden to become the champion and end Sammartino’s seven-year reign.
Ironically, Koloff was actually a French-Canadian from Montreal, he would capture the NWA tag title four more times. The Russian Bear is missing from the WWE Hall of Fame because he was represented by Konstantine Kyros, who filed concussion-related lawsuits against Vince K McMahon’s company.
The WWE official website put out a statement that read:
WWE is saddened to learn that Ivan Koloff, best known to the WWE Universe as one of Bruno Sammartino's most bitter rivals, has passed away at age 74.
Koloff, nicknamed "The Russian Bear," quickly became a primary rival to one of the most beloved WWE Champions of all time, Bruno Sammartino. In an infamously memorable instance in WWE and Madison Square Garden history, Koloff crushed Sammartino's throat with his knee by jumping off the top turnbuckle.
This act on Jan. 18, 1971, allowed “The Russian Bear” to cover the WWE Hall of Famer and score an astonishing three-count to become WWE Champion, ending the Italian powerhouse's record-setting seven-year title reign. WWE extends its condolences to Ivan Koloff's family, friends and fans.