WWE Legend Dies From Ruptured Artery: Killer Khan Was 76

Killer Khan took on Hulk Hogan and André the Giant during his time in WWE.

Killer Khan, a former WWE Superstar who had memorable matches with André the Giant, died on December 29. He was 76 years old. According to multiple outlets, Khan (real name Masashi Ozawa) died due to a ruptured artery. He lost consciousness on the counter of Kanchan's Jinjo Sakaba in Japan and was rushed to the hospital.

"WWE is saddened to learn that Masashi Ozawa, known to sports-entertainment fans as Killer Khan, passed away at age 76," WWE said in a statement. The Japanese-born competitor was an imposing figure in the ring and highlighted his career with memorable rivalries against Legends such as Bob Backlund, Pedro Morales, André the Giant, Hulk Hogan and more."

Khan made his professional wrestling debut in Japan in 1971. He would continue to wrestle in different countries before joining WWE in 1980. Khan would feud with André for over a year, and the Wrestling Observer named it the best feud in 1981. Khan would then join Stampede Wrestling in 1984 and won the Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship that year. He would return to WWE in 1987 with Mr. Fuji as his manager. Khan would announce his retirement later that year. 

Following his retirement, Khan would run numerous restaurants and bars in Tokyo. In 1994, Khan made an appearance in the film 3 Ninjas Kick Back and played a bodyguard. Once wrestling fans learned the news of Khan's death, they paid tribute to him on social media. 

One person wrote, "RIP to Killer Khan. I remember seeing him in WWF as a little kid during the Hulkamania era. One of the many foreign heel monsters. Wasn't until adulthood did I learn about his extensive career in Japan. And the fact he wasn't Mongolian. He technically was in NES Pro Wrestling."

"Very sad to hear the passing of Japanese wrestling legend Masashi Ozawa known in WWF as Killer Khan," another person said. "I had the pleasure of wrestling with him in Germany in 1976 for Gustl Kaiser along with Yoshiaki Fujiwara. He was a lovely and funny man out of the ring."