Heartbreaking news from the pro wrestling world on Sunday as legendary WWE Hall of Fame wrestler, manager, commentator, brain and weasel Bobby Heenan has died. Heenan had been battling health issues for years, dating back to the 2002 announcement that he’d been diagnosed with throat cancer, a 2013 battle with tongue cancer that left his speech severely impaired, and a reconstructive jaw surgery in 2007.
Jim Ross broke the news on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. Shortly thereafter, Gene Okerlund and Dave Meltzer both confirmed Heenan’s passing.
To generations of WWE, WCW and AWA fans, Heenan was an icon and one of the best ever, whether it was his legendary managerial career, his underrated time as a wrestler, or in the booth as part of some of the best announce teams of all time. “Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan” is a play-by-play and color team at or near the top of everyone’s lists.
At ringside, Heenan was part of many of the biggest events in WWE history, from managing Andre the Giant into the main event of WrestleMania 3, to heading up The Heenan Family and being the unforgettable soundtrack to Ric Flair’s 1992 Royal Rumble win. He was there when Hulk Hogan joined the New World Order, for the rise of Bill Goldberg, and once again at the broadcast table for the gimmick battle royal at maybe the best WrestleMania ever, WrestleMania X-7.
When you think WWE color commentary, you think Bobby Heenan. When you think “wrestling manager,” you think Bobby Heenan. He managed to be so many things during his lifetime, and his contributions to the sport he loved and helped define will never be forgotten. Spend the rest of the day celebrating the life of The Brain, call your loved ones using 1-800-COLLECT, and find the most convoluted ways possible to work the word “weasel” into your descriptions of them.
Rest in power, Bobby. We hope Gorilla Monsoon’s up in Heaven beside you, telling you to stop it.