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Famed pro wrestler "Macho Man" dies in crash


Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman (L) departs the ring with teammates Hulk Hogan (R) and "Macho Man" Randy Savage after they lost their World Championship Wrestling match in Daytona Beach, Florida in this July 14, 1997 file photo. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman (L) departs the ring with teammates Hulk Hogan (R) and "Macho Man" Randy Savage after they lost their World Championship Wrestling match in Daytona Beach, Florida in this July 14, 1997 file photo. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

By Colleen Jenkins

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (Reuters) - Professional wrestling great "Macho Man" Randy Savage died after a car crash on Friday near his home in Seminole, Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The colorful champion -- known for his husky voice, gaudy costumes and "oooh, yeah!" catch phrase -- appeared to have lost control of his 2009 Jeep Wrangler on Friday morning, crash investigators said.

Savage, 58, drove over a concrete barrier into oncoming traffic lanes before crashing head-on into a tree. He died of his injuries at a nearby hospital, a crash report said.

Though some media outlets quoted his brother as saying the former wrestler suffered a heart attack while driving, the Florida Highway Patrol said that could not be confirmed until an autopsy is performed.

The crash was not alcohol-related, authorities said.

The wrestler, whose legal name was Randy Mario Poffo, and his wife Barbara, who was a passenger in the car, were both wearing seat belts. His wife suffered minor injuries.

Once a minor league baseball player, the wrestler rose to fame as "Macho Man" in the 1980s.

He was "an iconic figure," said hall of fame professional wrestler Dusty "The American Dream" Rhodes on Friday.

Under contract with the WWE from 1985 to 1993, he sparred against Hulk Hogan and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. He clinched two WWE Championships, two World Heavyweight Championships and held a 14-month reign as Intercontinental Champion.

His entrance music was "Pomp and Circumstance" and his signature accessories were sunglasses, bandannas and cowboy hats.

"WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time," read a statement posted on the WWE site on Friday. "Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends."

(Additional Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Greg McCune and Jerry Norton)

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