WWE legend Tommy Billington – known as the Dynamite Kid – has died aged 60, according to friends.
Wrestler Will Ospreay wrote on Twitter: “I heard news that Tommy Billington also know as the Dynamite Kid has passed away.
“Thank you for all the work you’ve done for our country and inspiring so many wrestlers to take a chance on themselves. RIP Dynamite Kid.”
Billington, born in Lancashire, had been battling health problems for a number of years.
Trainer and retired wrestler Marty Jones said Billington had died on his birthday.
He wrote on the social media site: “It’s with great sadness I have to inform you all that the Dynamite Kid Tommy Billington on his birthday passed away.
“A true British ambassador for wrestling worldwide. RIP ‘Kid’”
“A true British ambassador for wrestling worldwide. RIP ‘Kid’. Condolences to Mark and his family.”
American wrestler, TJ Perkins, described him as an inspiration.
He wrote on Instagram: “Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask made me want to be in New Japan when I was younger.
“Even more so than the WWF. My first ever real job in wrestling happened to be in New Japan, as soon as I graduated High School and turned 18.
“To say it was an honour to step into the ring in the company where these two guys built what we know today as ‘Cruiserweights’ is an understatement.
“I’m very sad to hear that we lost Dynamite.”
With cousin and late tag partner Davey Boy Smith, known as British Bulldog, he shot to fame in the 1980s.
The duo were known as the British Bulldogs and were accompanied to the ring by a real bulldog, named Matilda.
However, Billington was forced into a wheelchair in 1997 after a series of injuries, before suffering a stroke in 2013.
His tag partner’s son, Davey Boy Smith Jr, said: “I was really happy and glad I got to see Dynamite one last time last June in the UK.
“Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to myself and many others and really revolutionized professional wrestling as we now it today.
“He flew high, and gave it his all every match.”
Dynamite’s death marked a tragic week in wrestling, and was followed by the death of WWE legend Larry Hennig.
But some good news finally came, with the return of Roman Reigns at the company’s Tribute to the Troops event.