Johnnie Mae Young, a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famer, died on Tuesday at the age of 90.
WWE released the following statement Tuesday:
“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.
Young, also known as “The Great Mae Young” was born on March 12, 1923, in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. She was raised by her single mother Lily Mae Young and was the youngest of eight children.
From an early age Mae Young had an interest in wrestling. Her brothers Fred, Eugene, Lawrence, and Everett taught her how to wrestle and by age 15 she made the boys high school wrestling team in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Young later went on to make her professional wrestling debut in 1939. Since then her contribution to women’s wrestling have made her a true pioneer of the sport. She won many titles throughout the United States and Canada. In 1951 she became the first Florida Women’s Champion of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and by 1968 she was the first United States Women’s Champion. Young was also among one of the first women wrestlers to tour Japan in 1954. Later in her career she wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and made sporadic appearances as a guest of honor for the WWE.
At one point in her wrestling career, Young took a break to become a coach, and helped train Lillian Ellison, her longtime friend, famously known as “The Fabulous Moolah”. Moolah later became the first woman to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Young was the third female inductee, and receive the honor in 2008. According to the WWE, Young currently holds the distinction of being the only wrestler, man or woman, to wrestle matches spanning 9 decades.
Young died at her home in Columbia, South Carolina, where she had been on hospice care. Vince McMahon, WWE’s CEO & Chairman said “there will never be another Mae Young.
Since her passing many fans and colleagues have used Twitter to send their condolences.
@JRsBBQ Is the legend true about her wrestling on a male team in High School?
— Scott Hall (@SCOTTHALLNWO) January 15, 2014
Thanks for the memories Mae. We loved you. pic.twitter.com/MhKlTuUx72
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) January 15, 2014
— Ben Austwick (@BigBigBen) January 15, 2014
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 15, 2014
Image via YouTube