WWE Hall of Fame champ Pedro Morales dead at 76

ByJessica Sager| Fox NewsWWEHall of Famer and first-ever "Triple Crown" champion Pedro Morales has died at 76,WWE reported late Tuesday.

Born in Puerto Rico, Morales began his wrestling career at 17 when he moved to New York City in 1959.

In 1970, Morales won the WWE Championship from Ivan Koloff at Madison Square Garden and established himself as an icon for Hispanic Americans, especially in New York City and the rest of the northeast United States.

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Morales became a wrestling legend in 1972 when he took on close friend Bruno Sammartino at the first-ever Showdown at Shea Supercard at Shea Stadium. A whopping 22,000 fans watch the match, which lasted 75 minutes before refs called it a draw due to the strict 11 p.m. athletic event curfew.

Pedro Morales(George Napolitano/MediaPunch /IPX)

Morales retained his championship title for nearly three years (1,027 days to be exact) until December 1973, when Stan Stasiak finally bested him.

In addition to the WWE Championship, Morales concurrently held the World Tag Team title with Bob Backlund and the Intercontinental Championship, making him the first-ever Triple Crown Champion in the then-World Wrestling Federation.

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Morales retired from the ring in 1987, but continued working with the WWE and WCW as a Spanish language commentator.

WWE stars remembered the fallen legend.

"Goodbye to a great friend. One of the kindest, wisest wrestlers I ever knew. When I first started in WWE, he told me: 'You can’t stop talent.' I followed those words for the rest of my career. RIP Pedro Morales," Bret Harttweeted.

Bret Hart✔@BretHartGoodbye to a great friend. One of the kindest, wisest wrestlers I ever knew. When I first started in WWE, he told me: “You can’t stop talent.” I followed those words for the rest of my career. RIP Pedro Morales7,6787:03 PM - Feb 12, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy926 people are talking about this

The Iron Sheikwrote, "ONE OF THE BEST EVER. THE PEDRO MORALES EXCELLENT WORKER. EXCELLENT BABY FACE. EXCELLENT BUSINESSMAN. EXCELLENT HUMAN BEING. RIP MY BROTHER."

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterThe Iron Sheik✔@the_ironsheikONE OF THE BEST EVER. THE PEDRO MORALES EXCELLENT WORKER. EXCELLENT BABY FACE. EXCELLENT BUSINESSMAN. EXCELLENT HUMAN BEING. RIP MY BROTHER.1,3603:03 PM - Feb 12, 2019265 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Sean "X-Pac" Waltmanwrote, "Pedro Morales was a great man & I'm honored to be able to say I knew him. #RIPPedroMorales #PedroMorales."

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterSean Waltman✔@TheRealXPacPedro Morales was a great man & I'm honored to be able to say I knew him. #RIPPedroMorales#PedroMorales5102:49 PM - Feb 12, 2019·Los Angeles, CA120 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

"My Friend Pedro Morales, Whom I Had The Honor Of Working With Twice! RIP And Always Be Remembered For Your Saying 'I’m Ready For Any Kind Of Action,'" Ric Flairtweeted.

Ric Flair®✔@RicFlairNatrBoyMy Friend Pedro Morales, Whom I Had The Honor Of Working With Twice! RIP And Always Be Remembered For Your Saying “I’m Ready For Any Kind Of Action!”1,9134:13 PM - Feb 12, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy272 people are talking about this

The Singh Brothers admitted that they'd never met Morales, but that he still impacted their lives in a big way — because Bret Hart shared the same advice with them that Morales had given him:

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterSingh Brothers✔@SinghBrosWWERIP Pedro Morales. Please read.2523:28 PM - Feb 12, 201952 people are talking about this

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