Early Friday morning, WWE.com reported that "Hall of Famer William James Myers, known to fans as George "The Animal" Steele, has passed away at the age of 79."
Contrary to his wild and unpredictable personal of The Animal, Myers held a Masters Degree Central Michigan University and began wrestling as a way to make extra money as a high school teacher. From WWE.com:
It was during his teaching stint that he began moonlighting in sports-entertainment, working in the Detroit-area promotions. Steele's first WWE appearances took place in 1967, when he began a heated rivalry with WWE Champion Bruno Sammartino. For nearly 20 years, Steele was a reviled villain, managed by the likes of fellow WWE Hall of Famers The Grand Wizard, "Classy" Freddie Blassie, Capt. Lou Albano and Mr. Fuji. His classic main events against Sammartino, Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund saw him come close to winning the WWE Championship on many occasions.
In 1985, however, Steele was embraced by the WWE Universe and changed the course of his career. After The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff abandoned him during a match, Steele fell back under the tutelage of the then-beloved Albano. His transformation was remarkable, as one of the most hated men in the sport became one of its most loveable figures. Long after his in-ring retirement and WWE Hall of Fame induction, George "The Animal" Steele's name still evoked terror for one generation of WWE fans and warm smiles for another.
No word yet on how much, if any, effect years of eating turnbuckle pads had on The Animal's health.
Our sympathies to George "The Animal" Steele's family, friends, and many fans.