Universally recognised as one of the greatest commentators and managers in professional wrestling history, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan has died aged 73.
Heenan began his career in the 1960s when he initially competed as a wrestler, before his legendary verbal skills saw him become a manager.
Known for his creative language and humour, Heenan managed a slew of legends across his early run in the AWA, including Nick Bockwinkel, Ray Stevens and Ken Patera, before making the move to WWE in 1984.
It was WWE where Heenan became firstly a national, and then a global treasure, with his mop of blonde hair and gift of the gab infuriating and delighting fans with equal measure.
Rick Rude, Andre The Giant, Mr Perfect and many more wrestlers were represented by Heenan, whose weasel character never grew tired or grating no matter how many times he attempted to be villainous.
Heenan was also a comedy marvel who also had the ability to make fans both hate him and laugh with him at the same time.
He and Gorilla Monsoon are considered to be one of the most iconic double-acts in wrestling, with their on-screen skits and commentary work fondly considered to be classics.
The 1992 Royal Rumble proved to be perhaps the greatest night in Heenan’s career, as his commentating tour-de-force during the main event resulted in an hour of classic one-liners, intentionally aggravating condescension, and ample cheerleading for eventual winner Ric Flair.
A move to WCW in 1994 saw Heenan continue his commentary duties, and he was one of WCW’s most used talkers during the heyday of Monday Nitro.
Sporadic appearances in WWE in the 2000s followed, but Heenan’s health declined sharply at the start of the decade.
After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002, Heenan’s voice and appearance changed dramatically, but his wit never faltered, and he continued spending time with fans until the end.
Heenan was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, and his death was met with many tributes within the wrestling world.