Antonio Inoki was revered for never being afraid of a challenge — whether it was dueling heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali or negotiating the release of hostages with the Iraqi government. That’s why he was often called “the fighting spirit that burns.”
Inoki died at age 79 after battling a rare disease called amyloidosis, his company, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, announced on Saturday.”
His achievements, both in professional wrestling and the global community are without parallel and will never be forgotten,” the professional wrestling group wrote in a statement.
Kanji “Antonio” Inoki was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1943 but spent most of his childhood in Brazil where his family relocated. There, Inoki found a passion for professional wrestling and took on the name “Antonio.”