According to the following tweet from Gene Okerlund (and later confirmed by WWE), AWA promoter/owner Verne Gagne has passed away:
In 1960, Gagne broke away from the NWA territory to form the Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association. Gagne ran the promotion up until 1991, with legends such as Nick Bockwinkel, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, and tag teams like the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Scott Hall and Curt Hennig, and the Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels). Jesse Ventura, Mean Gene, and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan also passed through the AWA.
Gagne suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, long suspected to be a result of CTE (central traumatic encephalopathy). In 2009 there was an incident with another patient in the memory loss care facility Gagne was living in. Though the physical altercation resulted in the man’s death and was ruled a homicide, Gagne was not charged due to his advanced dementia.
Though his legacy is one fraught with controversy, and he is viewed as one of the most difficult and cantankerous figures in the history of pro wrestling, Gagne’s contributions to wrestling are innumerable. He was one of the last surviving pillars of what shaped professional wrestling as we know it, and was inducted (some would say begrudgingly) into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. Our deepest condolences to all of those affected by this loss.