Johnny Valiant, a former WWE Superstar who was elected to this company’s Hall of Fame in 1996, died on Wednesday morning after getting hit by a truck.
He was 71 years old.
According to various reports, the fatal incident occurred in Ross Township, Pennsylvania.
The wrestler, whose real name was Thomas Sullivan, was killed as he tried to run across a busy road and was hit by an oncoming vehicle.
“We do have witnesses,” Ross Township Detective Brian Kohlhepp told WPXI, adding:
“There was other traffic on McKnight [Road] at the time, so we were able to speak with people who actually witnessed the accident.”
Kohlhepp added that police were still investigating what transpired, but said there was “no indication that this was anything other than a terrible accident at this point.”
He was transported to a hospital after getting hit (around 5 a.m.) and passed away shortly afterward from injuries he sustained.
Valiant started his wrestling career in 1969.
Five years later, he won the World Tag Team Championships with James Fanning, the duo combining to be known as The Valiant Brothers.
In 1979, the grappler became wrestling partners with “Gentleman” Jerry Valiant, a Canadian whose real name was John Hill, going on once again to win the World Tag Team Championship.
The tandem was managed at the time by Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano.
In the early 1980s, Valiant himself became a manager, initially working alongside legend Hulk Hogan.
He went on to manage the “Dream Team” of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in 1985 leading them to the World Tag Team Championship and also managed Dino Bravo and Demolition.
As pictured above, Valiant eventually served as color commentator for WWE before returning to the AWA in 1989 as a manager.
In 1996, “Luscious” Johnny and “Handsome” Jimmy were immortalized when then both were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
After his retirement, Valiant even guest-starred on a handful of TV shows, such as Law & Order and The Sopranos; he also hosted a one-man show called An Evening with Johnny Valiant in New York City.
WWE has said it “extends its condolences to Valiant’s family, friends and fans.”
May Johnny Valiant rest in peace.