Legendary professional wrestler Thomas "Dynamite Kid" Billington passed away earlier today at the age of 60. Kid, who wrestled for WWE in the '80s and spent the last few years of his career wrestling in Japan, won the then WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship while working for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the tag team titles in WWE along with Davey Boy Smith.
Marty Jones, the trainer from United Kingdom first broke the news, taking to social media to announce that Kid had passed away on his 60th birthday.
"It's with great sadness I have to inform you all that The 'Dynamite Kid' Tom Billington on his birthday has passed away. A true British ambassador for wrestling worldwide RIP 'Kid' condolences to Mark & his family."
It's with great sadness I have to inform you all that THE "DYNAMITE KID" TOMMY BILLINGTON ON HIS BIRTHDAY HAS PASSED AWAY.. A TRUE BRITISH AMBASSADOR FOR WRESTLING WORLDWIDE RIP "KID' CONDOLENCES TO MARK & HIS FAMILY MARTY JONES pic.twitter.com/TRYbBTpTgf— Marty Jones (@martyleglockno1) December 5, 2018
WWE remembered Dynamite with the following statement:
WWE is saddened to learn that Thomas Billington, known to his fans as Dynamite Kid, has passed away at age 60.
Born in Golborne, Lancashire, England, Billington pursued sports-entertainment as a means to avoid a life as a coal miner. Although somewhat undersized, he possessed a ferocity and determination that earned him the nickname The Dynamite Kid.
As a singles competitor, he made his mark in WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, developing a style that was both technically brilliant and wildly aggressive. It was in Japan, however, where Dynamite Kid set a new standard for junior heavyweight competition in a legendary series of matches against Tiger Mask, which would influence an entire generation of competitors, and help set the stage for brands like WWE's 205 Live.
Dynamite Kid joined WWE in 1984 alongside his cousin, Davey Boy Smith, forming one of the most popular tag teams of their era, The British Bulldogs. Alongside their mascot, an English bulldog named Matilda, the duo battled it out in classic matches against Bret "Hit Man" Hart & Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart of The Hart Foundation, and defeated Greg "The Hammer" Valentine & Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake to win the World Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania II.
WWE extends its condolences to Billington's family, friends and fans.
Over the past two decades, Dynamite suffered from numerous health problems, and was wheelchair-bound because of the leg and back injuries he sustained in the ring. Numerous wrestling personalities have since taken to social media to post tributes and pay their respects to the British wrestling legend.
View this post on Instagram
Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask made me want to be in New Japan when I was younger. Even more so than the WWF. My first ever real job in wrestling happened to be New Japan, as soon as i graduated high school and turned 18. To say it was an honor to step into the ring in the company where these two guys built what we know today as "Cruiserweights" is an understatement. I'm very sad to hear that we lost Dynamite ?? ??
Gutted to hear about the passing of one of my hero's and biggest inspirations. RIP Dynamite Kid, Tommy Billington. pic.twitter.com/knQuwNOZKQ— Tyler Bate (@Tyler_Bate) December 5, 2018
I heard news that Tommy Billington also know as the Dynamite Kid has passed away.— ????????? (@WillOspreay) December 5, 2018
Thank you for all the work you've done for our country and inspiring so many wrestlers to take a chance on themselves.
RIP Dynamite Kid. pic.twitter.com/yzQ74Swhhz
Professional Wrestling as we now it today. He flew high, and gave it his all every match. Thanks for everything and sad to have lost another family member. ?? Rest In Peace Dyno. ?? ???? ?? ???? pic.twitter.com/0p57E6dLwx— Davey Boy Smith Jr. (@DBSmithjr) December 5, 2018
Paul Hutchinson and Pascal Preib contributed to this article.