A close friend of Bruno Sammartino says the WWE Hall of Famer had been fighting to get out of the hospital for two months before passing away at the age of 82 on Wednesday, but “the accumulation of injuries he suffered in the ring were too much.”
Former WCW announcer Chris Cruise — who says he spoke with Bruno almost every day for the past 35 years — shed light on Sammartino’s health situation via Facebook. Shortly after news of Sammartino’s death broke, he wrote the following:
Bruno Sammartino had been in the hospital the past two months, fighting every day to get out and get home. And every day, all day his high school sweetheart Carol was by his side. She was his rock, and he was hers. They were married almost 60 years. As tough as Bruno was, she is tougher.
Carol never wanted the limelight, never wanted to be known as the wife of a famous man. I always enjoyed talking with her and I always loved how much she loved Bruno. They were each others’ best friends. After 60 years! What special people they were!
Bruno and his wife were cared for lovingly by their son Danny, and their son Darryl traveled to WrestleMania events with Bruno. Danny looks like David a bit and his mother, and Darryl is the spitting image of Bruno. They are such good and loving sons. Danny spoke with his mother many times throughout the day, was at her side through everything. He is a good man.
I spoke with Bruno almost every day for the past 35 years, traveled with him to Italy and to Wrestlemanias and to other events. We laughed and poked fun at each other; we talked about everything under the sun, we gossiped. He was the older brother and father I never had. I was thrilled to talk with him; it never got old.
I used to send him news articles in the mail and then slowly he began reading emails and even searching the internet on his iPad. I razzed him about how long it took him to get to that point and he just laughed.
He made you feel good, supported you through ups and downs. He felt your pain.
Bruno was strong, but very gentle and was so careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings; he hated discrimination of any kind, especially against minorities and homosexuals. He loved being with his wife, having a quiet and stable life. He loved Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh sports.
Like me, he was a cat lover, and, like me, he was devastated when his cats died. He counted the minutes til he could see his grandson “Little Bruno.”
Bruno was 82 when he died this morning. I last spoke with him about a week ago. He sounded weak, but determined to get out of the hospital. In the end, the accumulation of injuries he suffered in the ring were too much. Bruno Sammartino gave his life for pro wrestling, literally.