Former WWE performer Jorge González (a/k/a Giant González) passed away Wednesday in San Martin, Argentina, reports Argentinian news outlet Impulso Baires. He was 44 years old.
Sources from González' hometown, El Colorado, confirm that he was taken to San Martin after "suffering a decompensation."
González had been suffering from poor health for years as he was confined to a wheelchair and used a dialysis machine to treat kidney failure. It was announced last year that González would return to the United States in May 2010 for an appearance at the "Legends of the Ring: wrestling convention in Monroe, New Jersey. Ultimately, he was forced to cancel the appearance due to ongoing health problems.
Originally a basketball player, González was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the third round of the 1988 NBA Draft. When his NBA career didn't pan out, Hawks owner Ted Turner offered González a job as a professional wrestler with another of his ventures, World Championship Wrestling. After a year of training, González was introduced to fans as "El Gigante" on May 19, 1990 at the WCW pay-per-view, Capital Combat. He enjoyed a lengthy run as a fan favorite before parting ways with the organization in 1992.
González' jumped ship to the World Wrestling Federation the very same year and debuted as "Giant González" at the 1993 Royal Rumble, where he eliminated The Undertaker from the Rumble match despite not being an official participant. The move laid the foundation for a rivalry that lasted the length of Gonzalez' WWE career as he parted ways with the organization shortly after being put to rest at the hands of "The Deadman" at the 1993 SummerSlam.
González wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling before retiring in 1995 due to ongoing health problems. His last match took place on February 8, 1995 against The Great Muta.
González is the fourth former WWE talent to pass away within the past seven weeks, following Lance Cade, Luna Vachon and Mike Shaw (a/k/a Bastion Booger).
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