Bobby “The Brain” Heenan has died at the age of 73, according to a tweet by wrestling announcer Jim Ross.
“The news of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan’s passing today gutted me,” Ross wrote on Twitter. “I loved our time together. No one ever did it better than the Wease.”
The WWE confirmed Hennan’s death and issued the following statement:
“WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Bobby Heenan, regarded by many as the greatest manager in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 73.
With a career spanning more than four decades, Bobby Heenan was the “The Brain” behind some of the most prolific Superstars in sports-entertainment history. Heenan plied his trade as their mischievous manager by running his mouth on their behalf with a sarcastic wit considered among the best in the business.
Heenan named competitors under his guidance as the Heenan Family, a moniker meant to show the strength of their alliance over any of their opposition. Members of the Heenan Family in the AWA and WWE read like the who’s who of sports entertainment, including legends and WWE Hall of Famers such as Nick Bockwinkel, the Blackjacks, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), Harley Race, and of course, the first WWE Hall of Famer, Andre the Giant, whom Heenan led to the ring at WrestleMania III before 93,173 fans.
As impossible as it may seem, Heenan’s overwhelming success as a manager was matched by that of his announcing career. Heenan’s constant verbal jousts with fellow WWE Hall of Famers Gorilla Monsoon and “Mean” Gene Okerlund on USA Network remain among the most entertaining moments in sports-entertainment history. In fact, “The Brain” was so entertaining, that “The Bobby Heenan Show” had a brief run on USA Network as well. In addition “The Brain” was part of the original broadcast team for Monday Night RAW in 1993, and is the only person to have sat at the announcers’ table for both Raw and WCW Monday Nitro. WWE extends its condolences to Heenan’s family, friends and fans.”
Heenan reportedly had a few medical complications from battling cancer in recent years. The iconic manager and broadcaster was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and has also battled tongue cancer.
Other members of the wrestling community also paid tribute to Heenan on Twitter.
Bobby Heenan just passed away a few hours ago. He was the best ever at what he did.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) September 17, 2017
Bobby Heenan… The Greatest Manager, One Of The Greatest Announcers, And One Of The Best In-Ring Performers In The History Of The Business
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) September 17, 2017
RIP to Bobby Heenan. The greatest wrestling manager of all time and an innovator of comedy in wrestling.
— Joey Ryan (@JoeyRyanOnline) September 17, 2017
Rest in Peace Bobby Heenan. Such an important thread in the fabric that is the professional wrestling of my youth!
— Christopher Daniels (@facdaniels) September 17, 2017
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.