The wrestling world has lost a star Wednesday when Pat Patterson died at 79.

The WWE confirmed the news with a tweet, saying, “WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson has passed away.”

Patterson born Pierre Clemont first started his wrestling career in 1958 in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec. Patterson later emigrated to the U.S. in 1962 and start wrestling in various promotions such as the Pacific Northwest Wrestling, Big Time Wrestling and the American Wrestling Association. Patterson even toured Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling which is one of the biggest wrestling promotions in Japan.

Patterson joined the WWE in 1979 when it was known as the World Wrestling Federation. There he became the first inaugural Intercontinental Champion. He retired from wrestling in 1985, but he remained in the company with a backstage role. He eventually became part of the trusted circle of WWE owner Vince McMahon.

Even during his backstage role, he showed off his innovations and is  credited as the creator of the “Royal Rumble” format. The Royal Rumble became the main staple of WWE and a fan favorite from its creation in 1989 to the present day.

Patterson continued to gain fame when he and Gerald Brisco became the on-screen henchmen of Vince McMahon during the “Attitude Era.” His role as henchmen was a success as he was able to elevate McMahon’s villainous character to popularity as it boosted ratings. He helped in developing nefarious schemes and storylines that became a fan favorite.

In 1996 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for his achievements. Patterson was regarded as one of wrestling’s most influential minds. He broke barriers when he became the first openly gay wrestler.

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