The “Macho Man” Randy Savage, a professional wrestler who became a fan favorite thanks to his outlandish outfits and trademark catchphrase, died Friday in a car wreck, as first reported by TMZ.
The 58-year-old Savage — whose legal name was Randy Mario Poffo — reportedly suffered a heart attack while driving his 2009 Jeep Wrangler in Tampa, Fla., and careened across lanes of oncoming traffic before colliding head-on with a tree. He died later at a local hospital.
Savage’s wife Lynn, who was riding in the passenger seat, escaped with only minor injuries. Both passengers were wearing seatbelts and the police do not believe alcohol was a factor.
The World Wrestling Federation favorite from Ohio burst onto the scene in 1985 and quickly drew attention with his flamboyant outfits and “ooh yeah!” catchphrase. His marriage to Elizabeth Hulette, Ms. Elizabeth to fans, was one of the first high-profile wrestler/valet relationships. They divorced in 1992. Savage remarried last year.
He won two WWF championships in his career. His match against Ricky Steamboat in 1987′s Wrestlemania III is considered one of the best WWF bouts ever. Savage won the title late that year, setting the stage for memorable battles with Hulk Hogan, who would eventually dethrone him as champion.
World Wrestling Entertainment released an official statement on Friday afternoon.
“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage.
One of Macho Man’s biggest rivals was Hulk Hogan. Hogan said he and Savage had just started talking again after 10 years.
“He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he’s happy and in a better place and we miss him,” Hogan wrote.
Savage also appeared in memorable ads for Slim Jim and played a wrestler in the 2002 hit film “Spider-Man.”
For those old school followers of wrestling, the Mach Man got his start wrestling in the ICW. He even occasionally made appearances around the local area in central Kentucky. I remember meeting him at our local National Guard Armory.
For those of you who didn’t know, “The Macho Man” was also a professional baseball player in the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds organizations. Randy hit .254 in his minor league career and he stole 21 bases and drove in 130 runs in 869 at bats. An injury forced him to teach himself to throw left handed to continue his baseball career.
The Macho Man’s father was also a professional wrestler and he went by the name The Miser and always wore a mask. His brother was also in the business and went by the name Leaping Lanny Poffo, while he was in the ICW but when we moved to the WWF he became better known as the Genius…always reciting poetry.
The Macho Man will definitely be missed…here’s to one of the greatest to ever lace up wrestling boots.