Pat Patterson, a WWE legend and the first openly gay wrestling star, has died at the age of 79.
“WWE is saddened to learn that Pat Patterson has passed away at the age of 79,” WWE said in an online statement. “A true industry pioneer, Patterson has been linked with many ‘firsts’ in sports entertainment throughout his career, including the very first Intercontinental Title reign and the creation of the Royal Rumble Match. “
“Over a six-decade career, the Renaissance man left an indelible mark on the industry in the ring, at the microphone and behind the scenes,” the statement continued. “WWE offers its condolences to Patterson’s family and friends. ”
Patterson, real name Pierre Clermont, began his wrestling career in 1958 in his native Canada and retired from the ring in 1984.
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He went on to become a color commentator for WWE and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
“I can’t express how crushed I feel right now with the loss of Pat Patterson,” wrote WWE executive and wrestler Shane McMahon. Twitter. “A true member of my family, mentor and dear friend. I love you Pat. Speed of God. ”
“I am deeply grateful to have grown up with @WWE Hall of Famer, the very first Intercontinental Champion, father of #RoyalRumble and the first openly gay wrestler of his generation,” Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer, he told me. “Thank you for teaching me not to take all of this seriously. Abooze. ”
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“No words can describe what he gave us,” written Paul “Triple H” Levesque, former wrestler and current WWE leader. “His body as a performer in the ring, his spirit as a storyteller and his spirit as a beloved member of our great @WWE family. I will miss him for so many reasons… it’s never goodbye, see you soon. I love you, Pat. Abooze. ”
In 2014, Patterson became gay during an episode of “WWE Legends House” in 2014.
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“For once in my life, I’m going to be me now. I survived it all being gay. I lived with this for 50 years. I had a friend with me for 40 years and I lost him… it was hard. . It was difficult, ”he says.
Patterson also wrote about his experience as a gay wrestling in his 2016 memoir, “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE.”