Photo Credit: WWE.com
ETA: The Post and Courier retracted its story, saying that Young is alive, but gravely ill.
Mae Young, the toughest person in wrestling history and iconic figure in wrestling, is close passing away at the age of 90. She was taken off life support last night. Young spent a staggering 74 years in the business, but her health had been declining in the last few years. She was placed in hospice care last week.
Young debuted in 1939 by just showing up to a wrestling show and calling out Mildred Burke. Because promoters wouldn't let a nobody off the streets take on the Champion, she took on and defeated Gladys Gillem in a shoot fight. She was quickly scuttled into the business. She was responsible for training several wrestlers, male or female, the most famous of which being her friend The Fabulous Moolah. Alongside Burke, Young is regarded as perhaps the most influential woman in wrestling history because of her role in expanding the art for women, especially during wartime.
Young would experience a career renaissance by debuting in WWE with Moolah in 1999. She was involved in some infamous moments, including birthing a hand sired by Mark Henry and taking power bombs from the TOP ROPE from Bubba Ray Dudley on two consecutive weeks of RAW at age 77. Her appearances continued up until last year. She has competed in wrestling matches in a staggering nine different decades.
Young was truly an icon in the professional wrestling industry. She proved that men weren't the only people who could be tough, a fact that has been forgotten by hordes and hordes of misogynists today who don't feel women's wrestling is worth paying attention to. She was a carny through and through, noted by her run in WWE. Even though she was often put in situations that saw the writing team and Vince McMahon maybe laugh at her being and old lady instead of laughing with her, she always emitted a warmth that belied her exterior toughness.
To be completely honest, I never thought Young would die. No matter what age she progressed to, she, like Keith Richards or Ozzy Osbourne, felt like she would be hanging around with the cockroaches after everyone else had died. Still, while she led a full and rewarding life, I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness writing about her passing. Wrestling truly lost a titanic figure. Rest in peace, Mae Young.
Additional information taken from Mae Young's Wikipedia entry.