BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dick Beyer, best known as the masked wrestler The Destroyer or Doctor X, has passed away at the age of 88.
"He was the nicest, gentle, giving man you will ever know," Beyer's longtime friend, Karl Lauer, said.
Beginning in 1962, Beyer's career spanned nearly 30 years and several continents. His Destroyer persona was especially popular in wrestling companies in Japan, where one of his biggest matches attracted more than 70 million viewers. Fans commonly remember for the Hair vs Mask Match at the Olympic Auditorium in 1962 where he battled Gorgeous George.
Beyer could frequently be seen around the Western New York community, he's featured in many pictures hanging inside Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant in Blasdell.
“He’s always been a second father to our family here, especially after when I lost my father 25 years ago. The Destroyer would say, 'Hey whatever you need, I’ll be there,'” said Dennis DiPaolo, owner of Ilio DiPaolo's.
In addition to his international wrestling career, Beyer was a teacher and swim coach and also had a scholarship named after him. Beyer wrestled and played football at Syracuse University and was named the 1935 Syracuse University Athlete of the Year.
According to a Facebook post from his son Kurt, Beyer died at home, surrounded by his family Thursday afternoon.
Fans are asked to share their memories of the pro-wrestler at a memorial Facebook page - The Destroyer - Honoring A Wrestling Legend!