Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, one of the most renowned managers in the history of professional wrestling, passed away yesterday.
He was 73.
Although a cause of death has not yet been confirmed, Heenan had been battling throat cancer since 2002.
After early success in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Heenan was signed by the WWE in 1984. His first managerial client, as part of the promotion, was WWE Hall of Famer Big John Studd.
Throughout his years as a manager, Heenan formed what would come to be known as the Heenan Family, a group of superstars whom he managed. Among them were Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfectand Harley Race. All of whom are alongside Heenan in the WWE Hall of Fame, who was inducted in 2004.
The undeniable charisma and wit displayed by Heenan as a manager soon led to him being a long time and beloved commentator for the—ahem—sport where he formed an acclaimed pairing with Gorilla Monsoon.
And while his partner was neither a gorilla nor a monsoon, Heenan’s larger than life personality was a very genuine force of nature.
Heenan left the WWE and joined WCW in 1994 but returned to the WWE when Vince McMahon bought out WCW in 2001 at WrestleMania 17 alongside Mean Gene Okerlund. They served as guest commentators for the Gimmick Battle Royal, a match featuring 19 WWE alumni.