TAMPA (CBSMiami.com) – Former WWE heavyweight champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage, real name Randy Poffo, died Friday morning in a car accident in Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Savage, who spent most of the 1980s and ’90s as a superstar in the wrestling industry, died when the 2009 Jeep Wrangler “veered across a concrete median…through oncoming traffic…and collided head-on with a tree.”
Savage, who’s real surname was Poffo, was driving the Jeep and was with his wife Barbara Poffo, 56. Alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the car accident.
Savage made his wrestling debut in 1985 and was known for his battles with Hulk Hogan. His trademark phrase of “Oooooooh Yeaaaahhh” was heard on television for years as he was also the spokesman for Slim Jim.
Savage was 58-years-old.
His death was met with sadness in the wrestling community including from Miami’s own, “The Rock,” who posted on his Twitter feed: “Today Team Bring It will celebrate a life – we will kick ass and chase greatness OOHHYEEEAAAHHH style!”
Former WWE champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart said on Twitter: “I have no words to say. This one hits me hard. We lost one of the best.”
Former WWE heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan, who was one of Savage’s biggest opponents and friends through the years said, “He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he’s happy and in a better place and we miss him.”
The WWE released the following statement to CBSMiami.com shortly after 2:00 p.m.:
“WWE® is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans.”