Former WWE Star ‘Jumping’ Johnny DeFazio Passes Away At The Age Of 80
Credit: WTAE Pittsburgh
Unfortunate news out of Pittsburgh today as it was revealed that local wrestling legend “Jumping” Johnny DeFazio passed away today at the age of 80.
Allegheny County Executive Richard Fitzgerald broke the news after stating that DeFazio was battling cancer over the past few years.
DeFazio was a stalwart on the Pittsburgh wrestling scene, but he is a very familiar face to WWE fans back in the company’s WWWF era as he wrestled during the 1960s and 1970s. DeFazio happened to be a former four-time Junior Heavyweight Champion for the company and worked with WWE until 1984.
Sad to hear about the passing of “Jumping” Johnny De Fazio!
He was one of Pittsburgh’s Top Babyfaces along with Bruno Sammartino and Dominic Denucci in the 1960s.
He was one of my dads heroes! 😟 pic.twitter.com/oEMZO6RANB
— Sam Adonis (@RealSamAdonis) February 26, 2021
After that, DeFazio became a major political figure on the Pittsburgh scene as he was the first ever president of the Allegheny County Council which he served as for 19 years (2000-2019).
Fitzgerald had this to say about his former colleague about the impact he had for many workers and citizens of Pittsburgh.
“It’s hard for me to believe that John has passed. He was a larger-than-life presence. Those of us that knew him saw his reputation as a tough athlete and former pro-wrestler but knew that ‘Jumping Johnny’ had a heart of gold when it came to caring for his family, friends, and community.
“As part of the inaugural County Council, he served as its first president and also served in that stead during his last term. John was a bipartisan leader of Council, and a teacher to new members, who fostered unity among council. A union leader, he also focused on improving the quality of life and working conditions, championing efforts to enact a living wage in the county and urged Council to take positions on issues such as federal foreign trade policies and the UPMC-Highmark dispute. He also shepherded legislation through Council that increased the amount of the homestead exemption to protect property owners, set county goals for veteran-owned business participation, decreased the poured drink and car rental tax, required auditing of county voting machines and implemented a video monitoring system in the elections warehouse. He was most proud of his work on the creation of the Human Relations Commission and the protections that it provided for residents who were experiencing discrimination in housing, employment and other contexts.
“John was the smartest guy on Council. He never took a wrong vote. He saw the big picture. He was the captain of the team and was the person that we all went to when struggling with issues and votes before the body.”
We here at WrestleZone would like to extend our thoughts, prayers and condolences to Mr. DeFazio’s friends, family and friends at this time.