- Pro wrestling legend Eldridge Wayne Coleman, better known as “Superstar” Billy Graham, passed away at the age of 79.
- Coleman had been dealing with numerous health problems for several years, including multiple infections, organ failure, and diabetes, which required emergency surgery earlier this month.
- The three-time world champion wrestler held the title in the WWWF, the New York territory promotion that later became WWE, from 1977-78.
- Coleman’s flashy style and charisma greatly influenced future wrestling stars such as Hulk Hogan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Scott Steiner, and Ric Flair.
- Coleman, who had a history of steroid use, later became an advocate against drugs, especially during the 90s when Vince McMahon was embroiled in federal steroid trials.
The pro wrestling community is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic figures. “Superstar” Billy Graham, born Eldridge Wayne Coleman, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 79. The news was confirmed by fellow wrestling legend Ric Flair and reported by TMZ.
Over the past few decades, Coleman had been dealing with a variety of health problems, including numerous infections, organ failure, and diabetes. His conditions worsened in February, culminating in an emergency surgery earlier this month.
Coleman’s legendary wrestling career was marked by three world championship wins, including a 1977-78 title run in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), which would later evolve into the globally recognized WWE. His contributions to the sport were recognized in 2004 when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Coleman’s influence on the world of professional wrestling was significant. His flashy persona, distinctive style, and charisma were mirrored by many future stars in the ring, including Hulk Hogan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Scott Steiner, and Ric Flair.
However, Coleman’s relationship with the wrestling industry was not without controversy. As a former steroid user, he became an outspoken critic of drug use, especially during the 1990s when Vince McMahon, WWE boss, was embroiled in federal steroid trials. This position caused a temporary rift between Coleman and McMahon, which was eventually reconciled in time for his Hall of Fame induction.
Beyond the wrestling ring, Coleman leaves behind a legacy of resilience and activism. He is survived by his wife and two children. His life and career will be remembered by wrestling fans around the world as a testament to the sport’s dynamic evolution and as a pivotal character in its colorful history.