This has been a rough week for the professional wrestling industry, as it's already mourning the loss of George The Animal Steele and Nicole Bass earlier in the week. Another name was added to that depressing list this morning when it came to light that Ivan Koloff passed away at the age of 74.
Koloff had been struggling with liver disease for over a decade, but it wasn't until recently that he had so start curtailing his public appearances due to his health. In a recent interview with the Post And Courier, Koloff spoke about how much meeting the fans meant to him, saying “I appreciate the fans. Without the fans, there wouldn’t be any wrestling,” said Ivan, who began his pro career in 1961. “The main thing for me over the years, even as a bad guy, was just to make the matches exciting. Whether the fans were picking on me or booing me or just showing their love, I appreciate them so much and want to thank them all for their support. It makes me feel so good that they still remember.”
WWE stars have taken to social media to share their thoughts and prayers for the Koloff family, and to make sure the world knows that the legend will be missed.
Flair shared a picture of his friend in better times.
I'm Sad To Wake Up And Hear of the passing of my very close friend the Russian Bear Ivan Koloff. You will be missed My Friend. Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/nziKZ2Zqy4— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) February 18, 2017
The WWE Legend reminisces about his former mentor.
ONE OF MY FIRST TEACHERS WHO HAD THE REAL HEEL HEAT. MY BROTHER IVAN KOLOFF REST IN PEACE pic.twitter.com/5xJ5cVRoR6— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) February 18, 2017
Hacksaw Jim Duggan mourns the loss of another wrestling great.
We loose another one of The Greats ! God Bless Ivan Koloff ! RIP— Hacksaw Jim Duggan (@OfficialHacksaw) February 18, 2017
Hogan is in disbelief over how many the industry has lost this week.
RIP Ivan Koloff,it's been a tough week,Chavo,Nicole Bass,George Steel,Ivan and Marty Prince,I would feel helpless if not for my faith1loveHH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) February 18, 2017
Scott Dawson sends prayers to the family of the wrestling legend.
Taz expresses his sincere condolences to the family.
Always was a big fan of the GREAT Russian Bear Ivan Koloff. Dominated in an era filled legends. Condolences to his family, friends & fans. pic.twitter.com/2aasYcDM1q— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) February 18, 2017
The fan favorite has nothing but compliments for Koloff.
Condolences go out to the Ivan Koloff family on Ivan's passing. Another fantastic guy and a real first class gentleman.— Honky Tonk Man® (@OfficialHTM) February 18, 2017