WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, first openly gay wrestler, dies at 79
The professional wrestling world has lost a trailblazer and icon. Pat Patterson, a WWE Hall of Famer who is considered the first openly gay wrestler in the industry's ranks, died at the age of 79, the WWE said Wednesday.
Born Pierre Clermont in Montreal Patterson emigrated to the United States and got his start by wrestling through the Pacific Northwest and in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s.
He is widely credited as the first WWE Intercontinental Champion, although the occurrence of the tournament that crowned him champ never actually took place. He transitioned in a role away from the ring to eventually become Vince McMahon's de facto right-hand man — serving as an announcer, road agent, and even as the in-ring referee at the first WrestleMania main event in 1985.
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