The WWE universe has lost a legend.
George "The Animal" Steele, one of the wildest, most beloved and unpredictable superstars in the history of the company, has passed away from kidney failure.
He was 79 years old.
Born William James Myers, The Animal's death was confirmed by WWE management and also by the ex-athlete's wife, Patricia.
She told TMZ Sports that Steele had been in and out of hospice care since last April.
Prior to breaking into the sports entertainment business, Steele earned his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University and became a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit, Michigan area.
During this time in his life, Steele started to dabble in the world of professional wrestling, first appearing inside a WWE ring in 1967, where he feuded with WWE Champion Bruno Sammartino.
Other feuds for Steele during this period included battles with Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund.
He never won the title, but Steele was considered a strong, often-used villain for about two decades.
Then, in 1985, a storyline found The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff abandoning Steele during a match.
As a result, the wrestler ended up being managed by Caption Lou Albano, transforming into an oddball of a fan favorite with a green tongue and a penchant for eating the insides of a turnbuckle.
In response to his death, Hulk Hogan Tweeted the following this morning:
"My brother, only love, only grateful."
Added former wrestling manager and executive Jim Cornette:
"Sorry to hear of the passing of George "The Animal" Steele--top star, great guy, had some fun car trips/talks with him in the 90's. #RIP."
Here's a look at other social media reactions from members of the WWE family:
John Layfield: Got the privilege of traveling the world with George 'The Animal' Steele and enjoyed every minute of it. RIP my friend.
The Iron Shiek: REST IN PEACE GEORGE THE ANIMAL STEELE. YOU WERE ALWAYS THE INTELLIGENT BROTHER I LOVE YOU.
Jim Ross: Sad to hear the passing of old friend & fellow @WWE HOFER George "The Animal" Steele at age 79. The @michiganstateu grad was good man.
Tommy Dreamer: I feared him as a kid. I cheered him as a teenager. I became friends w/him as an adult. Never be another like. George the Animal Steele.
We send our thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Steele.
He joins the above list of celebrities who have died in 2017.