Legendary WWE Hall of Famer and long-time WWE employee Pat Patterson has passed away at the age of 79, the company has confirmed.
The beloved Canadian began his wrestling career in his home province of Quebec in 1958. He would go on to the join the company now known as WWE in the late 1970s and become the promotion’s first ever Intercontinental Champion.
Patterson went on to help create the Royal Rumble event and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
After hiding his sexuality for over 50 years, Patterson famously came out as gay during an emotional scene on the reality show “Legends’ House” in 2014.
In front of fellow legends of wrestling “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, and Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart, Patterson revealed:
“From where I come from, I had nothing, no family, no money, and I ended up [working] with Vince [McMahon] … to me, that was the biggest achievement of my life. But there’s more to that. Sitting here tonight, I’m going to say something I would never want to say. For once in my life I’m going to be me. I survived all this being gay.”
After news of Patterson’s death broke, tributes began to pour in from social media.
“I’m deeply grateful to have grown up with [WWE] Hall of Famer, the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, the father of the [Royal Rumble] and the first openly gay wrestler of his generation,” WWE’s Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon tweeted on Wednesday morning. “Thank you for teaching me how to not take it all so seriously. Abooze,” she added.
No word on his official cause of death at this time.
We here at Pro Wrestling Sheet would like to offer our condolences to Pat Patterson’s friends and loved ones.