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WrestleMania Celebrity Passes Away In A Plane Crash

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We are saddened to report that Old School WrestleMania Celebrity Russ Francis passed away on October 1st at the age of 70.

In 1986, NFL Veteran Russ Francis stepped out of the gridiron and into the squared circle at WWF WrestleMania 2. Known for his football prowess, Francis made a memorable cameo in the 20-man over-the-top-rope Battle Royal, showcasing his athleticism and toughness.

While he didn’t secure victory in the ring that night, his appearance added an extra layer of excitement to this iconic wrestling event.

WWF Legend Don Muraco posted the following on Facebook:

“Sad to report Hawaii/NFL sports legend Russ Francis has perished in a plane crash. Son of wrestling promoter Ed Francis, Pro football Hall of Fame, pro wrestler, friend to many in Hawaii and around the world and the late Howard Cosell’s favorite player!

No details, somewhere in upstate New York, near Lake Placid, Respect to family and friends.”

Russ Francis had a notable NFL career as a tight end. He played for the New England Patriots from 1975 to 1980 and from 1987 to 1988 as well as the San Francisco 49ers from 1982 to 1987.

According to the Lake Placid News, he was involved in a lethal airplane crash on Sunday. Here’s what they reported:

“The two people killed in an airplane crash at the Lake Placid Airport on Sunday have been identified as Russ Francis, a former NFL tight end who recently purchased the Lake Placid Airways scenic tour business at the airport and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden.

The crash happened around 4:09 p.m. at the end of a runway, close to the North Elba Athletic Fields. Lake Placid emergency services, New York State Police, Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad and state Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers responded.

Francis grew up wanting to fly, and he spent his life in the sky. He was 70.”

We extend our condolences to Russ’ family, friends and fans.


April 3, 1953 – October 1, 2023

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