WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant died Wednesday morning after he was hit by a pickup truck while crossing the street in a Pennsylvania town.
Valiant, whose real name is Tommy Sullivan, was 71 years old.
According to TV station WPXI, Valiant was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead not long after the incident occurred on the busy street in Ross Township. He was later identified as the former wrestler.
Valiant made a name for himself in WWE in the 1970s when he won two World Tag Team Championships, once in 1974 with storyline brother Jimmy Valiant and the second in 1979 with brother Jerry.
After news of Valiant’s passing broke, WWE issued the following statement remembering the wrestling legend:
WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant passes away
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant reportedly passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 71.
Valiant began his sports-entertainment career in 1969 in the Detroit territory owned by WWE Hall of Famer The Sheik, setting up rings, refereeing and competing. After learning the basics in the Motor City, he spent years competing in more than 20 territories across North America, including WWE.
In 1974, The Valiant Brothers “Luscious” Johnny and “Handsome” Jimmy captured the World Tag Team Championships and held them for more than one year. In 1979, Johnny teamed up with “Gentleman” Jerry Valiant to capture the tandem titles again, this time managed by WWE Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano.
Soon after, “The Luscious One” followed in Albano’s footprints and became a manager of tag team champions himself. After guiding some of the biggest names in the AWA, Valiant returned to WWE in 1985. “Luscious” Johnny led the Dream Team of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake to the World Tag Team Championship with a win over Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. Canadian strongman Dino Bravo and Demolition were also managed by Valiant for a portion of their WWE tenures.
Valiant proved he was multi-faceted by also doing color commentary for WWE before returning to the AWA in 1989 as a manager. In 1996, “Luscious” Johnny and “Handsome” Jimmy were immortalized when they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
WWE extends its condolences to Valiant’s family, friends and fans.