Hamilton

Infamous Hamilton biker and former WWE wrestler dies

Former WWE wrestler and infamous Hamilton biker, Ion “John” Croitoru — also known as Johnny K-9 — has died.

'Johnny K-9' was known for his time in the ring, and his time in jail

Ion “John” Croitoru died on Tuesday in Toronto. (forum.bodybuilding.com)

Former WWE wrestler and infamous Hamilton biker, Ion "John" Croitoru — also known as Johnny K-9 — has died.

Correctional Service of Canada spokesperson Kyle Lawlor said in an email that Croitoru, 53, died at the Keele Community Correctional Centre in Toronto on Tuesday.

"As in all cases where an individual dies while in custody, the police and coroner are called in to investigate, and the coroner will determine cause of death, but I am not sure if they have done that yet," Lawlor said.

National Post reporter and underworld author Adrian Humphries reported that Croitoru died of natural causes.

A hulking presence in the ring, on the screen or on the streets, Croitoru was well known to police, but also to wrestling fans as a "heel" who once fought Hulk Hogan in a televised match.

Croitoru was granted statutory release from a British Columbia prison in September, three and a half years after pleading guilty in B.C. Supreme Court to conspiring to kill rival gang members.

He was among two dozen people who plotted to murder Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie Bacon and their Red Scorpions' gang associates over the course of 14 months that saw gang violence escalate across Metro Vancouver.

The conspiracy was fuelled by a cash reward that reached hundreds of thousands of dollars and took place during the lethal gang war over drugs and criminal supremacy in 2008 and 2009.

Croitoru was also charged with the 1998 slaying of Hamilton criminal defence lawyer Lynn Gilbank and her husband Fred. That prosecution was stopped when it was deemed that there would be no reasonable prospect of a conviction in the case.

He leaves behind a wife and three children.