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Macho Man Randy Savage dies in Seminole car crash

4:40 PM, May 20, 2011   |    comments
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Seminole, Florida -- 10 News confirms pro wrestling star Macho Man Randy Savage died in a Seminole car crash Friday morning. He was 58.

TMZ first reported Savage suffered a heart attack while he was behind the wheel of his vehicle.

The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed Savage did indeed die in the crash after notifying his next of kin. While FHP says Savage may have had a "medical event," it would not be confirmed until an autopsy is performed.

Photo Gallery: Pictures from the accident scene
More Pictures: Macho Man Randy Savage

According to the initial FHP report, a 2009 Jeep Wrangler was traveling west on SR-694 when it went out of control just west of the intersection of 113th Street North. 

The Jeep went over the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes and hit a tree head-on.

Troopers say Savage's wife Barbara Poffo was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with minor injuries. She has since been released.

Read: FHP's accident report (PDF)

Savage, whose real name is Randall Mario Poffo, is best known as a wrestler for the WWF, WCW and WWE throughout the 1980s, 90s and first part of the 2000s.

Savage is known for his trademark bandana, sunglasses and "Ohhh yeah!" catchphrase.

The WWE released this statement on Savage's passing:

"WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, a.k.a. 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."

Savage defined the larger-than-life personalities of the 1980s World Wrestling Federation (now WWE). He wore sequined robes bejeweled with "Macho Man" on the back, rainbow-colored cowboy hats and oversized sunglasses, part of a unique look that helped build the WWF into a mainstream phenomenon.

For most of his career, his valet, Miss Elizabeth, was by his side. Elizabeth Hulette was his real-life wife at the time. They later divorced, and Hulette died in 2003 at 42 in what was later ruled a prescription drug overdose. She was among many performers in the sport to die young.

Others include Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, who died of a cocaine overdose in 2003 at 44, and Chris Benoit, who killed his wife and son and then committed suicide in their Georgia home in 2007. Benoit was 40.

The WWF made Savage their champion after a win over Ted DiBiase in the main event at WrestleMania in 1988.

Savage had not appeared for a major wrestling organization since 2004, when he performed for Total Nonstop Action.

He was at times both the most popular and most hated wrestler in entertainment. His flying elbow off the top rope was mimicked by basement and backyard wrestlers everywhere. Savage made good use of his deep, raspy voice as a corporate pitchman as well, for years ordering Slim Jim fans to "Snap into it!"

He's most known for his legendary rivalries with Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair. Wrestlers took to Twitter to let fans know Savage won't be forgotten.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hailed Savage as one of his childhood inspirations and heroes, while Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley called Savage "one of my favorite performers."

Another wrestling superstar, Hulk Hogan, said on his Twitter feed Friday, "I'm completely devastated, after over 10 years of not talking with Randy, we've finally started to talk and communicate."

In another tweet, Hogan said "He had so much life in his eyes & his spirit, I just pray that he's happy and in a better place and we miss him."

While so many personalities who left the WWF for WCW like Hogan, Roddy Piper and Mean Gene Okerlund were welcomed back to the company and even inducted into the Hall of Fame, Savage never returned.

Savage was a minor league catcher in the 1970s for St. Louis and Cincinnati before turning in the uniform for tights. His father, Angelo Poffo, was a longtime wrestler, and his brother, "Leaping" Lanny Poffo, was also a 1980s WWF mainstay.

Condolences from fans poured in to Lanny Poffo's Facebook page on Friday.

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10 News. Contributing: CBS News

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