WWE legend and Royal Rumble creator, Pat Patterson has died at the age of 79.
The Canadian–American wrestler born Pierre Clermont, had long been battling cancer before his death. He was known as WWE’s first gay superstar.
“WWE is saddened to learn that Pat Patterson has passed away at the age of 79,” WWE said in a statement.
“A true trailblazer of the industry, Patterson was linked to many ‘firsts’ in sports-entertainment throughout his storied career, including the first-ever Intercontinental Title reign and the creation of the Royal Rumble Match.”
Patterson started his pro wrestling career in Canada in 1958 before establishing himself in the Bay Area and then moving over to the WWE, then WWF, to become the company’s first Intercontinental Champion. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
He retired from the ring in 1984, but had a long career as an announcer and WWE executive and was credited with the invention of the Royal Rumble.
Patterson came out as gay publicly in 2014. He had a 40-year relationship with Louie Dondero, who died of a heart attack in 1998.