Johnny Valiant dead: WWE Hall of Famer, Hulk Hogan manager and Sopranos star killed, aged 71

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WWE Hall of Famer turned Sopranos star ‘Luscious’ Johnny Valiant has died after being hit by a pick-up truck on Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh, aged 71.

According to reports, Valiant, whose real name was Thomas Sullivan, ran across a busy road when he was hit just before 5.30am and rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Detective Brian Kohlhepp told news station WPXI: “We do have witnesses. There was other traffic on McKnight [Road] at the time, so we were able to speak with people who actually witnessed the accident.”

He also added that there is “no indication that this was anything other than a terrible accident”.

Valiant began wrestling in 1969 and won the World Tag Team Championships in 1974 with his on-screen brother Jimmy Valiant – real name James Fanning – with whom he was inducted into the WWE (then WWF) Hall of Fame in 1996.

Following the culmination of his in-ring career, Valiant became a manager and was in the corner of Hulk Hogan, amongst others.

He also went on to guest star in a number of TV shows after leaving wrestling, including The Sopranos and Law & Order.

In a statement sent out on Thursday morning, WWE said: “WWE extends its condolences to Valiant’s family, friends and fans.”

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