WWE is saddened to learn that another legend has passed away at the age 87.
The WWE and its fans are in mourning after the death of wrestling legend Don Leo Jonathan. He was 87. Jonathan, who was known to millions as The Mormon Giant, passed away on Saturday, the WWE confirmed.
‘WWE extends its condolences to Jonathan’s family, friends and fans,’ officials said in a statement. Jonathan, whose real name is Don Leo Heaton, was a second-generation performer who was one of the most feared big men between the 1950s and throughout the 1970s.
He followed his father into professional wrestling. His father wrestled under the moniker Brother Jonathan. Jonathan, a 6-foot-6 competitor weighed as much as 340 pounds during his career.
‘The Mormon Giant’s adaptability allowed him to wrestle a scientific match or brawl with the best of them, depending on the situation,’ the WWE said. Jonathan went head-to-head with greats like Andre the Giant, Killer Kowalski and Gene Kiniski.
The Hurricane, Utah, native also had WWE championship matches against Bruno Sammartino and Pedro Morales. ‘More times than not, Jonathan’s Spinning Full Nelson would spell defeat for his opponents,’ the WWE said of Jonathan’s ability in the ring.
Jonathan won several championships in Canada such as the IWA World Heavyweight Championship, the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Titles and he was a holder of the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship. Before Jonathan started wrestling full time in 1950, he served in the US Navy after high school.
He also appeared in a few movies, including Paradise Alley with Sylvester Stallone in 1978. The wrestling great retired in 1980 and ran his own diving company.
He has lived in Langley City, Canada, with his wife, Rose, since the late 1990s. They have three children together, Rodonna, Don Michael and Jeff, as well as three grandchildren. In 2006, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.
Details surrounding his death have not been revealed. Jonathan’s death comes more than two months after the WWE lost three other legendary wrestlers on the same day. Brian Christopher Lawler, Nikolai Volkoff and Brickhouse Brown all died on July 29.
Brown was being treated for cancer at a hospice in Mississippi when he passed away. He was 57. Lawler died after being placed on life support following a suicide attempt in his jail cell. He was 46. Volkoff, who was inducted into the the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, was 70 years old when he passed away.