The Russian Bear Ivan Koloff Passes Away At 74

WWE is saddened to learn that Ivan Koloff, best known to the WWE Universe as one of Bruno Sammartino's most bitter rivals, has passed away at age 74.

Ivan "The Russian Bear" Koloff has passed away at the age of 74.

Rick Flair posted the news Saturday morning. We reported a few weeks ago that Koloff was dealing with advanced liver disease.

Oreal Perras was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1942 and became a fan of professional wrestling at a very young age. The most famous moment of Koloff's wrestling career came on January 18, 1971, when he defeated Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden for the then-WWWF championship - ending a world title reign of more than seven years that still stands as the longest WWE world title run in the company's history.




In the 1980s, Koloff played a key role in the NWA Mid-Atlantic territory, which was run by promoter Jim Crockett and would eventually become World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

He would only hold the title for 21 days before losing it to Pedro Morales in February of the same year. In the mid-80s, he teamed with "nephew" Nikita Koloff (Scott Simpson) and Krusher Kruschev (Barry Darsow, the future Demolition Smash) as a three-man Russian team that feuded memorably with the Road Warriors and the Rock "n" Roll Express.

Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

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