He called himself “The Brain” and his enemies called him “The Weasel.” Regardless of the name attached to him, Bobby Heenan was a force in professional wrestling as a manager and commentator.
Heenan died Sunday at the age of 73, according to a tweet from wrestling announcer Jim Ross.
Former wrestling broadcaster "Mean" Gene Okerlund posted on Facebook that Heenan's daughter, Jess, had confirmed his death.
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The news of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan's passing today gutted me.��� Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) September 17, 2017
I loved our time together.
No one ever did it better than the Wease.
Heenan was renowned for his talking ability -- and talking agility -- on the microphone as a manager and announcer, The Sporting News reported.
He managed dozens of wrestlers over a career that spanned more than four decades, including Andre the Giant, Nick Bockwinkel, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Harley Race, Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, King Kong Bundy and others.
Heenan had been battling throat cancer since the early 2000s, Metro US reported. He went through several surgeries to repair his jaw, but he eventually had difficulty speaking due to tongue cancer treatments and the jaw was removed, according to Bleacher Report.
Heenan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Heenan was known as one of the greatest “heel” managers in pro wrestling, bending the rules to help his wrestler and eliciting “heat” from the crowd with his microphone tirades. He began his career in the 1960s and was managed in the AWA before moving to the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) during the 1980s.
Heenan’s star appeal transcended wrestling. He partnered with Andre the Giant in WrestleMania III, but he also traveled on the talk show circuit and even had a memorable appearance on Nickelodeon’s “Double Dare,” losing to his longtime commentating partner and television foil, Gorilla Monsoon.
Monsoon “fired” Heenan during the Dec. 6, 1993, edition of “Raw,” according to Bleacher Report. He worked as a color commentator with the WCW from January 1994 until November 2000, according to Bleacher Report.
Raymond Louis Heenan was born Nov. 1, 1943, in Chicago. His first break in pro wrestling came in 1965, when he worked as a manager and wrestler known as “Pretty Boy” Bobby Heenan. He competed in the World Wrestling Association until 1974, and then spent a decade with the American Wrestling Association. He joined the WWF in 1984 and made his biggest impact with his bombastic commentary and acerbic wit.
Several wrestlers and writers paid tribute to Heenan on Twitter:
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 Bobby "The Brain" Heenan - one of the GREATEST and most influential personas our business has ever known. pic.twitter.com/BUDikV0z2X— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) September 17, 2017
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. I was truly blessed to know him. RIP my friend!����— SGT SLAUGHTER (@_SgtSlaughter) September 17, 2017
Only I guy that ripped on me and it felt like a compliment. Bobby the brain Heenan will go down as the greatest. Love you Wease pic.twitter.com/exe7SlkKTO— Virgil (@TheRealVirgil) September 17, 2017
Worked with Bobby Heenan from 1980 until my career ended,learned new things from him ever single day,love u my brother rip. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) September 17, 2017
Bobby Heenan died today and it has left me very sad. He was the best of the best in the biz and a friend. RIP Bobby. Praying for you Cindy pic.twitter.com/T8wuFAYuST— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) September 17, 2017
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