A famed professional wrestler from the sport’s heyday of the ’80s and ’90s has passed away, and his fans are mourning alongside his family and friends.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, part of the Hart Foundation tag-team, passed away at the age of 63, after falling and hitting his head at his Florida home, according to reports from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Stunned and saddened. I just don’t have the words right now. pic.twitter.com/fcO8Skuuhz
— Bret Hart (@BretHart) August 13, 2018
Neidhart gained fame as part of the WWE two-time world tag team champion Hart Foundation with his brother-in-law, Bret “Hit Man” Hart.
The former champion wrestler was also the father of current WWE wrestler and “Total Divas” TV star Natalya “Nattie” Neidhart. He last wrestled professionally in 1997, but had made several appearances on his daughter’s E! network reality program.
Neidhart’s death was announced Monday via Twitter by longtime friend and fellow wrestler B. Brian Blair, who tweeted, “So sad to announce the passing of my friend and longtime colleague, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Your thoughts and prayers for the family are deeply appreciated!”
Neidhart’s daughter wrote on Monday: “I can’t put into words how hard it is going to be for myself and our family to have to say goodbye to my dad. He meant the world to us, and nothing will ever replace the special times we shared together as a family.”
I can’t put into words how hard it is going to be for myself and our family to have to say goodbye to my dad. He meant the world to us, and nothing will ever replace the special times we shared together as a family. My dad was always a fighter and an incredibly special person. There was no one like him! I’m just gonna miss him so much. We are going to hold all of the moments we had with him close to our hearts forever and never let them go. I promise to keep your memory alive. We love you so much, Daddy! On behalf of my entire family, we would also like to personally thank everyone for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers. It’s meant so much to us.
The Canadian-born Neidhart first began his athletic career on the gridiron before moving to the ring, and played football in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys.
He eventually began to train as a professional wrestler in Calgary with WWE Hall of Famer Stuart Hart, and ultimately became part of the famed Hart Family of wrestlers when he married his trainer’s daughter, Ellie.
Neidhart was said to have gained his nickname “The Anvil” after he won an anvil throwing contest in Calgary during his training.
The Hart Family wrestlers gained prominence and popularity as villains in the sport by playing up their Canadian roots and slamming America and American fans and wrestlers as being inferior.
Bret Hart is the last surviving member of the original four-man Hart Foundation tag team that captured the attention of audiences in the mid-1980s.