Bret Hart took to social media on Monday (3 July) to pay a touching tribute to his brother Smith Hart, who died on 2 July, the day The Hitman celebrated his 60th birthday.

The former Stampede Wrestling star died at the age of 68 after losing his battle with cancer. Months before his death, Smith had revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer in a heartbreaking letter that he shared on his Facebook page. He had said that he had just a "year to live".

"The diagnosis is official, I have Stage 4 Terminal Cancer," Smith had disclosed on his Facebook page. "I have been told that I could potentially have another year."

The WWE Hall of Famer has honoured his elder brother by sharing a black and white flashback photo of the two in the ring with their hands raised in victory following a fight.

"I want to thank everyone for your messages of love and support over these last few days. It is with a heavy heart that I write my final goodbye to my eldest brother Smith. I know that the gates of heaven will open up and welcome one of the most unique and original characters ever," Bret wrote alongside the image.

"One can only stand in admiration at how Smith stayed truth to himself, always proudly dancing to his own tune. No one was more proud of being a Hart than Smith."

He then revealed the important role Smith played when the former was growing up.

"He taught me how to draw and he was the first brother to ever team up with me in wrestling," he said. "Above all things, Smith taught me to laugh, right up until his final days."

Smith Hart
Former Stampede Wrestling star Smith Hart YouTube

I want to thank everyone for your messages of love and support over these last few days. It is with a heavy heart that I write my final goodbye to my eldest brother Smith. I know that the gates of heaven will open up and welcome one of the most unique and original characters ever. One can only stand in admiration at how Smith stayed truth to himself, always proudly dancing to his own tune. No one was more proud of being a Hart than Smith. He wore his name like a badge of honour. I believe that the Hart family is like being part of something that never leaves you, even if someday you find out you have to leave it. But I also believe that Smith is being embraced in the joyful arms of many loved ones gone before. Smith was ten stories deep. Sensitive, mischievous, hilariously coarse with a whip-smart sense of humour. He was a bottomless trove of imagination and potential and I think that anyone who knew him knows that there was always something very special about Smith. He was a boy that grew up in a crazy world filled with colourful characters and it shouldn't be a surprise that he would indeed grow up and become one of the most interesting and colourful characters I ever knew. He left us with his children, all with certain traits of his. Smith was a huge influence on me growing up. He changed my life in so many ways. He taught me how to draw and he was the first brother to ever team up with me in wrestling. Above all things, Smith taught me to laugh, right up until his final days. He'd light up the room with that classic "Smith humour" ("She's going to get the cattle prod."). He also spoke of his regrets with clear-headed honesty. Smith was a fighter. He had great strength and amazing courage right down to the bitter end. He proudly fought cancer until his dying breath and he was lovingly supported by every Hart in our family. He loved us, and all of us loved him so much. It could never have been very easy being the oldest of twelve kids. The enormous task of trying to fill my stern father's shoes may have been too challenging, or perhaps he simply didn't want or need it. Smith followed his dreams and although many didn't come true, he w

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