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!”