Eldrige Wayne Coleman, famously known as pro wrestling legend Bill Graham has died today, just short of his 80th birthday.
The World Wrestling Entertainment Twitter page made a statement, “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.”
Graham was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 and became a three-time champion in professional wrestling promotions. He is best known for taking the WWE championship from fellow wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino in April 1977, holding the title for almost a year. At the age of 44, Graham retired to become a manager and then a color commentator.
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….perhaps the single-most influential performer in WWE history whose interviews, fashion, and physique inspired Hulk Hogan, Jesse “The Body’s Ventura and Scott Steiner”
On Monday, the legend’s wife wrote on his Facebook page that he was on life support in a hospital, and the doctors wanted to take him off, but she refused. Graham had suffered from medical issues for months, enduring weight loss, kidney, heart, and lung problems.
She continues, “He’s a fighter, and his will is strong even if his body isn’t…God is our hope.”
Fences were eventually mended for his Hall of Fame induction; he is survived by his wife and two children.