Former WWE World Champion and Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart’s older brother Smith Hart passed away on Sunday after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 68-years-old.
According to TMZ, news of Smith’s passing came on Sunday, July 2, as former WWE wrestler and current New Japan Pro Wrestling standout Davey Boy Smith Jr. (aka David Hart Smith in WWE, Harry Smith in real life) took to social media to confirm that his uncle Smith had passed away. This was backed up by a separate post on Smith’s Facebook account, eulogizing the former Stampede Wrestling competitor.
On a sad and ironic note, Smith Hart had died on the same day that brother Bret celebrated his 60th birthday, wrote Hollywood Life. Bret Hart and his older brother were both diagnosed with prostate cancer at around the same time, but while Bret made a successful recovery after the cancer was caught early, it was reported in February that Smith was only given one year to live after being diagnosed in January 2016.
“In my case, I had early detection. I was under surveillance, active surveillance, and I was tested and checked and sort of forewarned that I was going to probably have prostate cancer,” Bret said, as quoted by CTV News Calgary.
“I was told a year before I actually had cancer that I was heading that direction.”
Bret Hart added that his brother turned out to be like a lot of other men who never considered getting checked, only for him to be informed that his cancer had reached a terminal stage.
“Prostate cancer is a cancer that doesn’t need to be a death sentence. It doesn’t need to be the end of the road for you. All you’ve got to do is get your blood tests done, get your PSA levels checked. It can save your life. My brother Smith is here, unfortunately, to tell people the urgency of that message.”
As noted by TMZ, Smith Hart was the oldest of Canadian wrestling legend Stu Hart’s 12 children, having competed from the 1970s up until the 1990s. While never a full-time performer for WWE, he had made some appearances for the company where his younger brothers Bret and Owen made their name, including one at WrestleMania XXVI in 2010, where he aided Bret in his No Holds Barred match against WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
— Smith Hart (@SmithHart1) June 2, 2017
Early last month, Bret Hart visited his ailing brother Smith in the hospital, just days before Smith took to Facebook to announce that he had been moved to hospice care. In a statement quoted by WrestleZone, Smith Hart apologized to the people he may have rubbed the wrong way in his life, adding that people should not “waste (their) time with hate and anger,” and instead value the time they have in this world.
“To anyone I have offended, mistreated or been at odds with, please accept my humblest of apologies. While I may not have always been everyone’s cup of tea, I always did my best to be the person I was most inspired by, my father.”
My uncle Smith Hart will be forever in our hearts as unique, genuine and as real as they come.… https://t.co/IXNlETujNJ
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) July 2, 2017
My sincere condolences to the Hart Family on their loss.
RIP Smitty ???? https://t.co/L8RWsrdvmv
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) July 2, 2017
Smith Hart was preceded in death by parents Stu and Helen, and younger brothers Dean and Owen, the latter of whom had lost his life in 1999 after a freak accident at WWE’s Over the Edge pay-per-view. His Facebook eulogy also noted that he trained several future WWE wrestlers in his Cambridge, Ontario wrestling school, including The Highlanders (Robbie and Rory McAllister), current NXT mainstay Eric Young, and SmackDown Live talent Tye Dillinger.
Some of Smith’s relatives in the wrestling industry, including nephew Harry Smith and niece Nattie Neidhart (aka SmackDown Live women’s wrestler Natalya), have since taken to social media to bid goodbye and offer their tributes. As of this writing, Bret Hart has yet to issue a statement on his brother’s passing.
[Featured Image by WWE]