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Pat Patterson (1941–2020), WWE Hall of Famer

by Linnea Crowther

Pat Patterson was a wrestling star who helped built World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was a mentor to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

  • Died: December 2, 2020 (Who else died on December 2?)
  • Details of death: Died of liver failure at the age of 79.
  • We invite you to share condolences for Pat Patterson in our Guest Book.

WWE legend

A native of Quebec, Patterson came to the U.S. in 1962 to wrestle, though he didn’t speak any English. He wrestled for regional promotions including Pacific Northwest Wrestling and the American Wrestling Association before joining WWE in 1979. Patterson was the first intercontinental champion in 1979. After his wrestling career, he worked for WWE in many capacities, including as a referee and in promotions. He came up with the idea for the Royal Rumble, which is still a signature event. Patterson came out as gay in the 1970s and acknowledged it on a WWE reality show in 2014. He wrote a memoir in 2016 titled “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE.”

Tributes to Pat Patterson

Full Obituary: Sports Illustrated

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Kirk Fox contributed to this report.

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