WWE Legend George 'The Animal' Steele Dies at Age 79

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2017

Photo credit: WWE.com.

WWE Hall of Famer George "The Animal" Steele died at the age of 79.

Steele's death was confirmed on WWE.com. ESS Promotions agent Eric Simms sent out a tweet Thursday reporting Steele's wife said the former wrestling star was in hospice care. WWE also released a video honoring Steele on Saturday:

The Animal left a long-lasting impression on the wrestling business, which led to many of his peers offering their condolences and memories on Twitter.

WWE legend Hulk Hogan was among them:

Another WWE Hall of Famer and pop culture phenomenon, The Iron Sheik, chimed in as well:

Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross also tipped his cap to Steele with the following tweet:

Steele made his professional wrestling debut in 1967 and competed in the squared circle for more than two decades.

The Detroit native was known for several distinguishing characteristics, including a green tongue.

He also set himself apart from the rest with his signature act of tearing open the turnbuckle covers and eating the stuffing inside.

Although Steele was a villain for much of his career, he turned face in 1985 and went on to engage in a feud with Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

Steele lost an Intercontinental Championship match to Savage at WrestleMania 2 and was in Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's corner when he beat Savage for the title at WrestleMania 3 in what is widely considered one of the greatest bouts in wrestling history.