Wrestling legend Ox Baker has passed away due to complications stemming from a heart attack, according to multiple reports.
The 6-foot-5, 340-pounder was 80 years old.
Through the years, he was pretty comfortable with his legacy: “I was only a fair wrestler, but I was a great talker!”
Baker was also loud, brash and incredibly memorable, with his handlebar mustache and devastating Heart Punch finisher — all good skills when it came to being a star in professional wrestling.
Word of Baker’s death arrived Monday morning when WWE colour commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler offered his condolences via Twitter. “Just got the sad news that my friend and wrestling great, Ox Baker passed away a couple of hours ago. RIP OX,” wrote Lawler.
Baker – real name Douglas A. Baker – passed away Monday after suffering a heart attack earlier this year. He had been battling health issues for years.
Aside from the wrestling, Baker is remembered in the mainstream for his significant role in the cult classic Escape from New York, directed by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, and he’s in the documentary I Like To Hurt People. He also appeared on The Price is Right.
The legend of Ox Baker began in 1964, when he started wrestling. He was big, sure, but he hadn’t quite found his calling. Early photos have Baker wearing big black-rimmed glasses.
After 28 years as a pro wrestler, he fought just about everyone, and made many friends and a few enemies.
He lived by a simple edict: “I had one rule: Match is over, back to the dressing room. I would never sit and talk to you. You called me a name, I was happy because I made you mad enough to call me a name. I did my job.”
- Oct. 22, 2014: Mat Matters: Why Ox Baker was at my wedding and other memories
- Oct. 21, 2014: Guest column: Ox Baker, 45 years of memories
- Oct. 20, 2014: Everyone’s got an Ox Baker story
- June 28, 2001: Ox Baker: Wrestler, chef, author