The wrestling world was saddened to hear of the passing of William James Myers, known to fans as George “The Animal” Steele. The WWE Hall of Famer was 79.
One of the wildest and most unpredictable Superstars in WWE history, Steele's green tongue, hairy torso and appetite for turnbuckle pads turned "The Animal" from one of wrestling's scariest heels into it's most beloved babyfaces.
Prior to breaking into sports-entertainment, Steele received his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University and became a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area.
Steele was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995, only two years after the Hall's inception. The Animal commented on the honor on his personal website:
"It was a real honor to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995 when we were still called the WWF. 1995 was a great year for me. I was also inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame."
WWE fans aren't the only ones mourning the loss of one of their childhoods favorites. Many WWE stars took to Twitter today to express their condolences.
Here are some of the touching tributes from past and present WWE Superstars.
The Iron Shiek
REST IN PEACE GEORGE THE ANIMAL STEELE. YOU WERE ALWAYS THE INTELLIGENT BROTHER I LOVE YOU pic.twitter.com/4yQ1YyzyJ2— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) February 17, 2017
George"the Animal"Steel,RIP my brother,only love,only grateful. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) February 17, 2017
Got the privilege of traveling the world with George 'The Animal' Steele and enjoyed every minute of it. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/UnbhTaY9Qt— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) February 17, 2017
I feared him as a kid.— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) February 17, 2017
I cheered him as a teenager
I became friends w/him as an adult
Never be another like
George the Animal Steele pic.twitter.com/TdrIfod68i
Sorry to hear of the passing of George "The Animal" Steel! He was an Agent/ producer when I first came to @WWE and was always very kind.— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) February 17, 2017
Sorry to hear of the passing of George "The Animal" Steele--top star, great guy, had some fun car trips/talks with him in the 90's. #RIP— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) February 17, 2017