'Dynamite Kid' wrestler Thomas Billington dies on 60th birthday

Thomas Billington Image copyright WWE
Image caption The Dynamite Kid fought as one half of The British Bulldogs in the 1980s

"Inspirational" wrestler Thomas Billington, known as "The Dynamite Kid", has died on his 60th birthday.

Mr Billington, of Golborne, Greater Manchester became a worldwide star in the 1980s with his cousin Davey Boy Smith.

The pair fought in a tag team known as "The British Bulldogs", with their English Bulldog mascot Matilda.

His ex-tag team partner's son Davey Boy Smith Jr said he was "an inspiration" who "revolutionised" wrestling.

Image copyright WWE
Image caption The Dynamite Kid earned his nickname for his ferocity despite his small size. Matilda is seen her ringside

In a tribute, he said: "I was really happy and glad I got to see 'Dynamite' one last time last June in the UK.

"Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to myself and many others and really revolutionized professional wrestling as we now it today.

"He flew high, and gave it his all every match."

Image copyright WWE
Image caption The British Bulldogs held the WWF world tag team championship belts from April 1986 until January 1987.

The cause of his death has not yet been released but it is thought he had been suffering from ill health for a number of years.

He passed away on his 60th birthday.

Image copyright WWE
Image caption Thomas Billington in the action where he was famed for his determination

Mr Billington came from a boxing family and fought in the UK and across the world.

The British Bulldogs won the WWF World tag team title from Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake at WrestleMania II in 1986.

A World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) spokesman said Dynamite got into wrestling to "avoid a life as a coal miner".

He added: "Although somewhat undersized, he possessed a ferocity and determination that earned him the nickname The Dynamite Kid."

His former partner Davey Boy Smith, from Bolton, died suddenly in May 2002 aged 39 while he was on holiday in British Columbia, Canada.

An inquest found he was suffering from an enlarged heart.

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