The wrestling world is mourning the death of WWE legend Pat Patterson.
Patterson, who was born in Ville-Marie, Montreal, passed away in a Miami hospital on Wednesday after a battle with cancer. The news was first reported by TSN’s Tony Marinaro and subsequently confirmed by WWE.
Patterson was a tour de force both in the wrestling ring and behind the scenes. An openly gay wrestler who came out in the early 1970s, Patterson is the inaugural winner of the prestigious WWF (now WWE) Intercontinental championship. His 1981 wrestling match with Sgt. Slaughter in Madison Square Garden was voted as Match of the Year by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
As Patterson’s in-ring career wound down in 1984, he became one of WWE chairman Vince McMahon’s right-hand men. Patterson is the creator of the ultra-popular Royal Rumble match, which now marks the beginning of “WrestleMania season” every January. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 and is the oldest titleholder in WWE history.
The wrestling community flocked to social media to pay tribute to Patterson. John Cena, Mick Foley, the Iron Shiek, WWE, and many more mourned online.
Loss is incredibly difficult. Those we love are only truly gone if we stop caring. Pat Patterson lived life as it should be lived with passion, love and purpose. He helped so many and always entertained with a story or joke. He will live on in my life always. Love you Patrick.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) December 2, 2020
I just heard the terrible news about the passing of Pat Patterson. I loved the man. I could listen to his stories for hours. One of the all-time great wrestlers, one of the best minds in the business, and a dear friend.#RIPPatPatterson https://t.co/SozhlF8bQY
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) December 2, 2020
PAT PATTERSON I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY OTHER THAN I LOVE YOU. YOU HAVE BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR THIS BUSINESS AND BEAUTIFUL HEART FOR THIS WORLD. MY HEART IS BROKEN. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP #rip pic.twitter.com/XASbSUG0qO
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) December 2, 2020
Very saddened to hear about the passing of one of my best friends..Pat Patterson. He had an infectious personality where you always wanted to be around him. This photo of Pat, @ShawnMichaels and me was from Wrestlemania 21. Pat helped us create an incredible Story. #RIPHOFer pic.twitter.com/APHVs7hRoi
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) December 2, 2020
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson has passed away. https://t.co/SDMTR6skZn
— WWE (@WWE) December 2, 2020
Any interaction I ever had with Pat Patterson, albeit brief, was very enjoyable and an opportunity to learn. RIP to a trailblazer and great professional wrestler. A man who truly broke through barriers and an outstanding credit to our business. Godspeed sir 😢
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) December 2, 2020
Loved @wwe Hall of Famer Pat Patterson as a great friend and a mentor. The incredible times we had traveling the world, watching him sing karaoke, telling stories, talking golf are something I’ll treasure forever. Love you Pat, RIP legend. pic.twitter.com/xk3y08J24H
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) December 2, 2020
This one really hurts.
RIP, Pat Patterson.
Thank you for the laughs, the stories & most importantly, paving the way for us, Canadian wrestlers. 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/AauzPuMNhG
— Bollywood Boyz (@BollywoodBoyz) December 2, 2020
Heaven gained an angel! As my heart breaks a bit! Pat Patterson would fill a room w/ laugher, always sit & make me laugh every week in catering by barking & people would wonder where the dog was! Would joke w/ @HEELZiggler & I, & most importantly supported me! #RIPPatPatterson pic.twitter.com/7D65WHToY9
— Dana Brooke WWE (@DanaBrookeWWE) December 2, 2020
Wow – what a loss for the @wwe family. There was never a time I saw Pat Patterson backstage at a show or event where he wasn’t smiling or trying to make people laugh. Thanks for always being kind to me during our interactions. Your bright spirit will be missed.
— Kayla Braxton (@KaylaBraxtonWWE) December 2, 2020
Shook to hear the loss of an absolute legend in Pat Patterson. From an incredible in ring career to influencing countless superstars and matches behind the scenes to finally being able to tell his story and his truth after having to hide for so long. We’re forever in his debt.
— Matt Rehwoldt (@DramaKingMatt) December 2, 2020