WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund wrote on Twitter that legendary wrestler and former owner of the AWA, Verne Gagne passed away on Monday night.
Here is what Okerlund tweeted out on Monday night:
Sad to hear my longtime friend Verne Gagne has passed today. To me their was never anybody quite like him. May you rest in peace. GO
— Gene Okerlund (@TheGeneOkerlund) April 28, 2015
Gagne is a former NCAA champion and one of hte biggest babyface stars of his era. Gagne formed the AWA in Minneapolis with Wally Karbo in 1960 and the promotion would be known as the place to go because of higher pay and the easier schedule. Gagne helped break several top names into the business including former NWA/WWF/WCW Champion Ric Flair.
Despite what some may think, Verne Gagne can be credited with starting Hulkamania in 1981 when Hogan became one of the top stars of the promotion. Vince McMahon would end up signing Hogan in late 1983 and the rest is history. The AWA remained strong through 1985 but the company attendance began declining because of Vince McMahon’s talent raid.
Gagne was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
On behalf of everyone at WrestlingNews.co, we extend our condolences to the Gagne family.
(Additional background info on Verne Gagne added by Greg).