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Wrestling legend Dynamite Kid dies on his 60th birthday

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Pro wrestler Dynamite Kid has died.

The star of the ring, who was born Tommy Billington, died Wednesday on his 60th birthday, according to his family. WWE also confirmed the news.

Billington, who began wrestling at age 13, hailed from Golborne, Lancashire, in England, and made his debut with WWF (now known as WWE) in 1984. He soon teamed up with his cousin Davey Boy Smith to become the popular tag team known as the British Bulldogs. With their mascot, a bulldog named Matilda, and hype man/manager Lou Albano by their side, they won the World Tag Team title at WrestleMania II after a bout against the Greg “the Hammer” Valentine and Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake. Billington also competed in Stampede Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Wrestler Dynamite Kid — real name: Tommy Billington — has died. He was part of the popular tag team the British Bulldogs, entertaining WWE watchers in the mid- to late 1980s. (Photo: WWE)
Wrestler Dynamite Kid — real name: Tommy Billington — has died. He was part of the popular tag team the British Bulldogs, entertaining WWE watchers in the mid- to late 1980s. (Photo: WWE)

Billington was plagued with injuries. He broke his back during a 1986 match at Madison Square Garden, nearly ending his career, but he recovered. His final match was in 1996, when, after competing, he suffered a seizure. The next year he lost the use of a leg and had to start using a wheelchair. Then in 2013 he suffered a stroke.

Captain Lou interviews the Bulldogs before their WrestleMania II victory:

A documentary came out that year called The Dynamite Kid — A Matter of Price, which was described as an “emotional journey into a career cut short by the abuses of steroids, alcohol, drugs, and a complete disregard for his own physical limitations.” In 2016 his wife, Dot, started a GoFundMe to help bring him home from a health care facility and pay his medical bills as he lived out his final days at home.

Billington’s nephew — and Smith’s son — Davey Boy Smith Jr. paid tribute to his uncle on Twitter early Wednesday. He called him an “inspiration.”

He added that Billington “gave it his all every match.”

Smith’s daughter also paid tribute:

World of Sport Wrestling also honored him.

As well as wrestling trainer Marty Jones.

Billington’s cousin and partner Smith died in 2002 at the age of 39, so many of the other online tributes suggest they will be “reunited in the stars.”

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