Former Brazilian star wrestler dies

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Wilson Rosaline, one of Brazil's most popular performers in the 1960s as a masked wrestling villain called ''Executioner,'' died of gunshot wounds, media and hospital officials said Saturday. He was 80.

Rosaline was shot seven times after arguing with a man who had struck his daughter, the O Globo newspaper reported. The man who he had argued with shot him.

The Regional Hospital in Gama, near the capital of Brasilia, said Rosaline died on Dec. 11, although the death was not made public until Saturday.

Rosaline was popular in the 1960s, the heyday of professional wrestling in Brazil. Fans would pack arenas like Rio's Aluminum Palace to root for stars like Mongol, Samurai and the Bronze Bull, and the Saturday night bouts drew huge TV audiences.

As ''Verdugo'' - Portuguese for Executioner - Rosaline fought dressed entirely in black, with cape and a skull mask. Sponsors offered a prize to any adversary who could take it off, but no one ever did.

After he retired, Rosaline moved to the outskirts of Brasilia, 575 miles northwest of Rio, where he was a sought-after Santa Claus at Christmas time.


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