WWE Legend Billy Graham Passes Away at 79 After Battle With Health Issues

Photo: Instagram/Billy Graham

WWE icon Billy Graham, known for his legendary career, has passed away at the age of 79, surrounded by his wife and daughter, after being taken off life support.

Graham had been grappling with a multitude of health problems and had been in the intensive care unit for several weeks.

According to a GoFundMe page established to support him and his family, he had been hospitalized for months, contending with various serious health issues. The news of his demise was initially shared by 16-time World Champion Ric Flair on Twitter, who expressed gratitude for Graham's influence on his own career.

Photo: Instagram/Eldridge Wayne Coleman, better known by his ring name "Superstar" Billy Graham, is a retired professional wrestler who had a significant impact on the world of wrestling during his career.

In January, the WWE Hall-of-Famer was admitted to the hospital due to an ear infection that had spread to his ear bones and skull. Additionally, he had been confronting other health challenges, including acute kidney failure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and hearing loss.

On May 15, Valerie, Graham's wife, had provided an update on his condition through a Facebook post on his official page, revealing that she initially resisted the decision to withdraw life support. She described her husband as a fighter with a strong will, even as his body weakened, expressing hope in God. 

Before his renowned wrestling journey, Eldridge Wayne Coleman, known as Billy Graham, tried his hand at the Canadian Football League but found fame in the world of bodybuilding. His wrestling career began in 1969, during which he signed contracts with various promotions before eventually making his debut with the WWE (then known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation) in 1975.

Graham's distinctive appearance and persona became influential among many popular wrestlers at the time, including Austin Idol, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair.

His style and mannerisms were emulated by subsequent generations of wrestlers, such as Steve Austin and Triple H. During his tenure in the WWE, Graham claimed the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1977. In recognition of his contributions to the sport, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, alongside Ventura and Sgt. Slaughter.

However, Graham was not exempt from controversy, as he openly admitted to using anabolic steroids and even considered himself an innovator of their usage in the WWE. He later embarked on a public campaign to raise awareness about the dangers associated with the drug.

Throughout the last two decades, Graham battled serious health issues. He faced multiple liver problems, underwent transplants, and was diagnosed with third-stage liver disease and cirrhosis in 2012.

Over the years, he experienced hospitalizations for pneumonia, potential heart failure, liver complications, internal bleeding, and, more recently, an ear and skull infection.

A GoFundMe page detailed his extended absence from home, either spent in a rehab center or a hospital, resulting in significant weight loss, extreme weakness, and complete deafness due to the infection in his ears, skull, and sinuses.

Additionally, Graham intermittently grappled with kidney issues, requiring dialysis, and struggled with depression and physical sores from prolonged bed rest. Compounding the challenges, Valerie contracted COVID-19 two months prior, and her battle with Long COVID made it difficult for her to be present with Graham before his life support was withdrawn.

The wrestling world mourns the loss of Billy Graham, a pioneer whose impact on the industry and his contemporaries will forever be remembered.

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Source: Daily Mail 

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