Hall of Fame professional wrestler Mae Young passed away at the age of 90.
Mae Young was very ill in the days leading up to her death. She reportedly entered the hospital on Dec. 31 and was soon moved into hospice care, FOX Sports reports. The WWE did not confirm a cause of death but did release a statement:
“WWE is greatly saddened by the news that WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young, beloved member of the WWE family and oldest living squared circle personality, has passed at the age of 90.
Johnnie Mae Young was truly one of the greatest female competitors to ever lace up a pair of boots. A proud competitor for three quarters of a century and valued part of WWE to her last day, Young truly blazed a path for future female grapplers beginning in the 1940s.”
“From the moment she first stepped through the ropes, Young established herself as one of the most active and successful female Superstars — including becoming the first U.S. Women’s Champion, carrying out one of the most storied rivalries of the time with the legendary Mildred Burke in 1954 and being among the first female competitors to tour post-war Japan.
The entire WWE Universe offers a standing ovation to a true queen of the canvas and bids Mae Young a heartfelt farewell.”
Young was born in Oklahoma in 1923. She began wrestling professionally in the 1940s and continued through 2013, making her the only wrestler to remain competitive through eight decades.
She was the first-ever NWA United States Women’s Champion, winner of the Miss Royal Rumble 2000 Bikini Contest, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.