Wrestler George ‘The Animal’ Steele, known for his trademark green tongue and hairy chest, died at the age of 79, the WWE announced Friday.
Steele first hit the ring in 1967 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995. He entered hospice care on Thursday, according to a Facebook post from wrestling agent Eric Simms.
“The Animal” also received a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area.
He was one of the most hated men in the wrestling world for decades, but eventually became a fan favorite. Steele was also known for his heated rivalry with WWE Champion Bruno Sammartin and for biting the ring off turnbuckle pads.
Steele retired from wrestling in 1988 after he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Wrestling superstars offered their condolences and shared memories of their time with Steele.
“RIP my brother, only love, only grateful,” Hulk Hogan tweeted out.