WWE hall of fame wrestler George 'The Animal' Steele has died at the age of 79. The wrestler, real name William James Myers, was described as one of the "wildest and most unpredictable" stars of WWE and continued to make appearances for five decades.

His main career lasted between 1967 through to 1988, but never managed to win the converted WWE Championship despite main event matches against stars such as Sammartino, Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund.

As well as wrestling, Steel also portrayed fellow wrestler and B-movie star Tor Johnson in Tim Burton's 1994 movie Ed Wood.

A statement from the WWE said that despite his "green tongue, hairy torso and insatiable appetite for turnbuckle pads" Steel was a very well-educated man after receiving his Master's Degree from Central Michigan University and becoming a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area.

The statement added: "In 1985 Steele was embraced by the WWE Universe and changed the course of his career. After The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff abandoned him during a match, Steele fell back under the tutelage of the then-beloved Albano.

"His transformation was remarkable, as one of the most hated men in the sport became one of its most loveable figures. Long after his in-ring retirement and WWE Hall of Fame induction, George 'The Animal' Steele's name still evoked terror for one generation of WWE fans and warm smiles for another.

"WWE extends its condolences to Steele's family, friends and fans."

George ‘The Animal’ Steele
George ‘The Animal’ Steele made his first appearance in 1967 WWE