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Bruno Mars pays tribute to wrestling great Sammartino

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    Bruno Mars performs at the BET Awards in Los Angeles last year. Mars paid homage to his namesake, pro wrestling champion Bruno Sammartino, following news of his death at 82 on Wednesday.

Hawaii-born entertainer Bruno Mars paid homage to his namesake, pro wrestling champion Bruno Sammartino, following news of his death at 82 on Wednesday.

Mars tweeted a photo of himself alongside Sammartino with the words: “Sending love and prayers to Bruno Sammartino’s family. He was such a gentleman when I met him & really meant a lot to my father & I. RIP.”

Last summer, Mars met the retired wrestler — who his dad had nicknamed him after — during a stop in Pittsburgh for his 24K Magic tour. Mars, born Peter Gene Hernandez, was nicknamed “Bruno” by his father because he was a “chunky” baby.

Sammartino, the son of Italian immigrants, was a professional wrestling “living legend,” according to an Associated Press article, and one of pro wrestling’s “longest-reigning champions.”

The photo was also posted on Mars’ Instagram last year. Mars wrote then: “I was nicknamed after this professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Tonight in Pittsburgh I had the honor of meeting him!”

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