WWE Hall of Fame member George "The Animal" Steele, whose given name was Jim Myers, has died at age 79. WWE announced Friday the death of Steele, who was living in Florida. The Detroit native had tweeted and blogged in recent months about his declining health, the AP reports. He dealt with the digestive disorder Crohn's disease for several years. Sporting a bald head, hairy back, and green tongue, Steele was famous for his signature move of sinking his teeth into the turnbuckle pads around the ring and filling his mouth with the stuffing. At a Boston Red Sox game in 2012, he pretended to take a bite from the baseball before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.
Steele, who started appearing in the WWF in 1967, had a master's degree in science from Central Michigan and was a high school teacher and coach before and during his wrestling career, sometimes turning up for Monday football practice at a Detroit-area high school after a weekend appearance at Madison Square Garden, reports the New York Times. "George Steele was only an animal in the ring," tweeted WWE chairman Vince McMahon. "He was one of the truly nice men in the world." McMahon's daughter Stephanie tweeted: "My first time backstage, he scared me so badly I ran into my father's arms - a true character & a wonderful man." (In January, we lost fellow WWE legend Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.)