Minnesota wrestling legend Verne Gagne passed away yesterday (Monday, April 27th) at the age of 89.
Gagne was the owner and promoter of the AWA (American Wrestling Association) from 1960 until the company closed in 1991. Many of pro wrestling’s biggest names, from Jesse “The Body” Ventura to “Mean” Gene Okerlund, got their start in the AWA.
During his days as an active pro wrestler, Gagne became a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion and is one of only six men to be inducted into all four major pro wrestling halls of fame (WWE, WCW, Professional Wrestling and Wrestling Observer Newsletter).
Gagne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and had been living in a Bloomington health care facility up until 2009 when he had an incident with another patient. Since then, Gagne was cared for by his daughter Beth and son in law, Will. He is survived by four children, altogether. His wife, Mary, passed away in 2002.
We at Metal Head Wrestling would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Verne Gagne. To get an idea of the impact that this man had on the business, I encourage everyone to watch the documentary The Spectacular Legacy of the American Wrestling Association, which can be viewed on the WWE Network.
Members of the pro wrestling community, including Vince McMahon and Triple H, have issued the following statements on twitter.
Our hearts go out to Verne Gagne's family and friends. pic.twitter.com/BLRko4RLO8
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) April 28, 2015
— Triple H (@TripleH) April 28, 2015
Verne, I wouldn't be where I am without you. I owe my career to you. Thank you for making me. God bless you and your family #VerneGagne
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) April 28, 2015
Sad to hear my longtime friend Verne Gagne has passed today. To me their was never anybody quite like him. May you rest in peace. GO
— Gene Okerlund (@TheGeneOkerlund) April 28, 2015
Sad to hear of the passing of Verne Gagne.He was always very nice and complimentary to me when I met him in the '90's in WCW with son Greg.
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) April 28, 2015
Saw on Twitter & confirmed by @TheGeneOkerlund that the great Verne Gagne passed away today. Condolences to Verne's family & friends. RIP
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 28, 2015
On a plane and just heard the news about Verne Gagne. This one hits close and hurts. My thoughts, prayers and gratitude are with his family.
— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) April 28, 2015
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