Posted 3 years ago
Pro wrestling icon Pat Patterson, the industry's first openly gay star and a long-time lieutenant of promoter Vince McMahon, has died, officials said Wednesday.
The WWE Hall of Fame member was 79.
"A true trailblazer of the industry, Patterson was linked to many 'firsts' in sports-entertainment throughout his storied career," World Wrestling Entertainment said in a statement. "In a career spanning six decades, the renaissance man left an indelible mark on the industry in the ring, on the microphone and behind the scenes."
After retiring as a performer, Patterson served as a color commentator and worked behind the scenes in a long career that "helped lay the foundation" of today's WWE, according to McMahon.
"Pat Patterson was more than the first Intercontinental Champion & father of the Royal Rumble Match," McMahon said in a statement on Wednesday.
"He helped lay the foundation for WWE as we know it. His mentorship shaped careers, his creativity sparked innovation and his friendship lifted spirits. Love you, Pat. We miss you."
Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com, said the impact of Patterson's career cannot be understated.
"Having a gay man with a seat at the decision-making table at a company like the WWE was and is incredibly important," Zeigler said.
Tags: WWE Pat Patterson