Today is a sad day for wrestling fans with the news that Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart has passed away aged 63. The former WWE Tag Team champion reportedly died at his home in Florida following a medical emergency. The 'Anvil' had his heyday in the 1980s, teaming up in the ring alongside brother in law Bret Hart, who posted tweeted his devastation at the loss of his former wrestling partner:
Stunned and saddened. I just don’t have the words right now. pic.twitter.com/fcO8Skuuhz
— Bret Hart (@BretHart) August 13, 2018
The WWE released this statement following the news:
WWE is saddened to learn that Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart passed away.
Best known as the powerhouse of the legendary Hart Foundation tag team with his brother-in-law, Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Jim Neidhart was also the father of current WWE Superstar Natalya.
Neidhart began his ring career after playing professional football with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. He was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart in the infamous Hart Dungeon in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and earned his ring nickname, The Anvil, after winning an anvil throwing contest.
Neidhart married Stu's daughter, Ellie, to become a member of the legendary Hart Family before making the move to WWE along with Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith when WWE purchased Stu Hart's Calgary Stampede Wrestling.
Initially, Neidhart and Hart were managed by Jimmy Hart as The Hart Foundation and went on to win two WWE World Tag Team Championships.
After several years of teaming with Bret's younger brother, Owen Hart, and some singles competition, The Hart Foundation was re-formed in controversial fashion in 1997. Consisting of Neidhart, Bret, Owen, Smith and Brian Pillman, the pro-Canadian faction stirred United States crowds into a frenzy with their anti-American sermons.
Neidhart last competed in WWE in 1997 but his legacy lives on today through his daughter, Natalya, who displays her father's signature charisma and toughness every time she steps in the ring.
WWE extends its condolences to Neidhart's family, friends and fans.
Other people in the wrestling community also took to social media to celebrate the life of Neidhart:
Jim Neidhart was a big part of my love for professional wrestling growing up. He was the perfect high energy powerhouse to back up the technical prowess of Bret Hart as one half of the Hart Foundation and it's incredibly sad to hear of his passing. RIP. pic.twitter.com/SUf4Vs0MaG
— Adam Pacitti (@adampacitti) August 13, 2018
ONE OF MY OLDEST FRIENDS IN THE BUSINESS JIM NEIDHART. WE TRAVEL TOGETHER I LOVE HIM FOREVER LIKE A BROTHER. GOD BLESS FAMILY I NEVER FORGET YOU BUBBA. pic.twitter.com/lt1dE8QOvt
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) August 13, 2018
Jim Neidhart headlined one of the two events I promoted early in my career, and gave the world a wonderful human being in his daughter @NatbyNature. My deepest condolences to her, @TJWilson, and the entire Hart family. https://t.co/krtC0hFVUE
— Jason Ayers (@JasonAyersWWE) August 13, 2018
Devastating news Jim Neidhart my friend has passed away!! I can hardly believe it. Rest In Peace Brother until we meet again !!!
— Brutus Beefcake (@brutusbeefcake_) August 13, 2018
Jim Neidhart was a great athlete
He was the power & strength of
The Hart Foundation
I loved their finishing maneuver
Celebrate his life
Watch his matches today
My heart hurts for his daughters, wife & @TJWilson
There is only one#Anvil pic.twitter.com/pFvfDHtN8S
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) August 13, 2018
My Good Friend Jim Neidhart, A World Class Athlete And A Man Among Men. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/JSmdpZ9YZ1
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) August 13, 2018
Shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Jim Neidhart. The #HartFoundation were the greatest of all time. My thoughts are with @NatbyNature @TJWilson and the rest of the Hart family. #RIPAnvil
— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) August 13, 2018
Sad to hear about the passing of Jim Neidhart. Condolences to his family, friends and fans. Jim was an important part of the landscape during one of the most important periods in the industry. RIP Jim,
— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) August 13, 2018
Neidhart's daughter Natalie is also a professional wrestler with the WWE under the ring name "Natalya", and the pair often appeared together on reality TV show Total Divas.