The mayor of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sammartino fled his Nazi-occupied village in Italy and immigrated to Pittsburgh in the USA where he became one of professional wrestling's biggest box office draw in the 1960s and 1970s.
Sammartino returned to the WWE in 2013 when he was inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame.
"Nobody deserves to be recognized for being a big star and paving the way for the stars of today more than Bruno", said WWE executive Paul "Triple H" Levesque, at the time of Sammartino's induction.
What do you think of the passing of Bruno Sammartino?
The two met in 2017 for the first time, and both couldn't stop singing each other's praises after meeting.
Life under those conditions led to Sammartino being physically frail in his early years, so when he and his mother came to the United States in 1950 to join his father, Sammartino became determined to build himself up via weightlifting. He was the longest reigning world champion in the company that would become WWE.
But Sammartino soon grew exhausted of promoter Vince McMahon's outlandish storylines that became more focused on sports entertainment than good wrestling and was outraged over the drug culture he said had permeated the industry.
In 1959, weight-lifter Sammartino set a world record by bench-pressing an incredible 565 lbs. The Italian Superman sold out more than 180 shows at Madison Square Garden.
Sammartino formally retired as a full-time competitor in 1981 after beating Steele and did not return to WWF again until 1985 when he watched his son compete at the inaugural WrestleMania.
Everything that made Sammartino the man he was made it very easy for the creative forces behind WWE to present him as an in-ring giant slayer and a hero to be proud of.
Kurt Angle posted a long tribute to Sammartino on Instagram, which read: "My hometown hero, Bruno Sammartino has passed". He was an awesome performer, who made his Pittsburgh natives proud.
He wrote on the micro-blogging website: "Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man". My thoughts are with his entire family.
- Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 18, 2018One of the GREATEST of all time, Bruno Sammartino has left us.