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Hulk Hogan has paid tribute on the former wrestling champion who passed away last week. The Hall of fame wrestler Valiant also managed Hulk Hogan and starred in The Sopranos and The Wrestler alongside Mickey Rourke.

Former wrestling champion “Luscious” Johnny Valiant has died after being hit by a truck while crossing the road.

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The 71-year-old, who also managed Hulk Hogan in the 1980s, died on Wednesday morning in a Pennsylvania hospital, Allegheny County medical examiner said.

The former wrestler, whose real name was Thomas Sullivan, was struck just before 5.30am while crossing a road in Ross Township, about eight miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Police said the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) – now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – hall of fame star was not on a crossing when he was hit.

The driver of the pickup truck remained at the scene.

Sullivan won the then WWF World Tag Team Championship twice as part of The Valiant Brothers in 1974 and 1979.

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He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 where he was “immortalised”, a statement from WWE said.

The statement said: “WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer ‘Luscious’ Johnny Valiant reportedly passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 71.

“In 1996, ‘Luscious’ Johnny and ‘Handsome’ Jimmy were immortalized when they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

“WWE extends its condolences to Valiant’s family, friends and fans.”

After he retired he managed Hulk Hogan, regarded by many as the greatest professional wrestler of all time.

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In a tweet, Hogan thanked Valiant for his guidance, adding he had “nothing but great memories and good times my brother”.

He also managed Brutus Beefcake and commentated on matches.

When his managing days were up he carried on as an actor and comedian, still under the moniker of Johnny Valiant.

He appeared in multiple episodes of The Sopranos and Law & Order as well as several feature films.

In 2008 he appeared alongside Mickey Rourke in the film, The Wrestler.