Wrestling pioneer 'Killer' Kowalski dies at 81

Updated: August 30, 2008, 9:16 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

EVERETT, Mass. -- Pro wrestling pioneer Walter "Killer" Kowalski has died from a heart attack. He was 81.

Kowalski died Saturday after being taken off life support at a hospital in Everett, Mass. He had a heart attack on Aug. 8.

The death was announced on Kowalski's Web site.

Kowalski, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound wrestler, earned his nickname in 1954 by dropping Yukon Eric during a match in Montreal. He became famous for various moves, including a grip called the "Killer Clutch."

Kowalski was inducted into several wrestling halls of fame, including the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.