WWE Hall of Fame wrestler George “The Animal” Steele has died, according to the WWE.
Steele, born Jim Myers, was battling health problems for years, including kidney failure. He was moved into hospice care shortly before his death. He was 79 years old.
Steele, a heel, was known for his brawls with champions such as Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, and Pedro Morales.
Portraying a green-tongued, bald-headed wildman, Steele was known for “eating” turnbuckles — ripping them open with his teeth and throwing the shredded padding at opponents. He enjoyed his greatest fame near the end of his three-decade career as part of the 1980s WWE (then WWF) roster that included stars like Andre the Giant, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
In 1985, he turned into a loveable good guy thanks to a storyline intended to write Steele’s character off, as the company transitioned to a younger roster. Fans took pity on the Animal and cheered him, giving Steele new life as a sympathetic, simple-minded character who meant well.
Steele was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, New York in 2005.
George ‘The Animal’ Steele Cause of Death
WWE Hall of Famer George ‘The Animal’ Steele, real name Jim Myers, died of natural causes after years of battling health problems such as kidney failure. In December 2015, he had major kidney surgery and unfortunately suffered complications during the procedure.
Steele is survived by his wife, Pat, and his children Felicia, Dennis, and Randy.