Fans bid farewell to late professional wrestling star Antonio Inoki

Fans have bid farewell to professional Japanese wrestling star and ex-lawmaker Antonio Inoki, who died in October.

About 4,800 people attended a memorial ceremony on Tuesday at Ryogoku Kokugikan arena in Tokyo.

They offered silent prayers while 10 gongs sounded.

Professional wrestler Fujinami Tatsumi said his life changed dramatically after he met Inoki. He said he and Inoki practiced together, participated in tag-team matches and occasionally fought against each other. Fujinami stressed that Inoki will always be his eternal teacher and immortal hero.

Former TV announcer Furutachi Ichiro, who delivered live reports during Inoki's bouts, said the superstar's contests led to the creation of various stories. He also said that he will continue to talk about the late wrestler.

Later, mourners threw red flowers into a ring that was set up in the center of the arena.

Inoki started his career as a professional wrestler at the age of 17. He won fans by participating in a number of famous matches.

After he retired, he produced combat sporting events because he wanted to contribute to the development of sports.

He also served as a lawmaker. He used his unique personal ties to succeed in politics.

Inoki died from heart failure at the age of 79.