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George Steele, George the Animal Steele

WWE

The WWE has lost another legend.

George "The Animal" Steele, a Hall of Famer known for his green tongue and hairy chest, has died at age 79, the group said in a statement Friday.

Steele, whose real name was William James Myers, made his pro-wrestling debut in the late '60s and later became a popular villain in the ring. He continued to make WWE appearances throughout the late '90s. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995 by fellow wrestler Doink the Clown, who died at age 55 in 2013.

George Steele, George the Animal Steele

WWE

Before he became a wrestling star, Steele received his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and his master's degree from Central Michigan University and worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area, where he grew up.

Steele is survived by wife Pat and their children DennisRandy and Felicia.

In December, Steele had posted cryptic messages about death on social media.

"Everyone wants to go to Heaven but no one wants to die," he wrote.

He also said, "It won't be long" and revealed at the time that in 2015, he had undergone a near-death experience, which strengthened his faith.

"I flat lined as I was being put under for surgery. My ribs and chest were beat up as they worked to get my heart to start ticking. Four months followed this shut down in Hospital has changed my outlook on life."

"George 'the Animal' Steel, RIP my brother, only love, only grateful. HH," wrestling icon Hulk Hogan tweeted Friday.

Wrestling icon Hulk Hogan and fellow pros Virgil and The Iron Sheik also took to social media to pay their respects.

"I loved the Color of his tongue but more so I loved him as a person and a mentor. Rip George the Animal Steele," Virgil tweeted.

"REST IN PEACE GEORGE THE ANIMAL STEELE. YOU WERE ALWAYS THE INTELLIGENT BROTHER," The Iron Sheik said. "I LOVE YOU."

Other WWE stars who passed away in recent years include Chyna, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, The Ultimate WarriorSean O'Haire and Mae Young.