Raymond Louis Heenan, known to the wrestling world as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, one of the most renowned managers and commentators in the history of professional wrestling, died on Sunday. He was 72.
Heenan battled throat cancer since 2002. He died from organ failure due to the disease, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
After early success in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Heenan was signed by the WWE in 1984. His first managerial client as part of the promotion was WWE Hall of Famer Big John Studd.
Throughout his years as a manager, Heenan formed what would come to be known as the Heenan Family, a group of superstars whom he managed. Among them were Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect and Harley Race. All of those names also hold their rightful places in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Heenan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Stars from the wrestling world took to Twitter to honor Heenan.
One of the greatest managers and announcers in WWE history. Our thoughts are with the Heenan family. pic.twitter.com/r9A3IJlSoP
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) September 18, 2017
...one of a kind. pic.twitter.com/2uM1qpWHaF
— Triple H (@TripleH) 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
The undeniable charisma and wit displayed by Heenan as a manager soon transitioned to the commentary table, where he formed an acclaimed pairing with Gorilla Monsoon. Their verbal exchanges, which included Heenan's one-liners with Monsoon's flabbergasted responses, set the standard for professional wrestling commentary.
Heenan left the WWE and joined WCW in 1994 but returned to the WWE when Vince McMahon bought out WCW in 2001 at WrestleMania 17 alongside Mean Gene Okerlund. They served as guest commentators for the Gimmick Battle Royal, a match featuring 19 WWE alumni.
Heenan would have turned 73 in November.