WWE legend Pat Patterson has died aged 79, the wrestling organisation has confirmed.
Canada-born Patterson played a huge role in WWE's success, having created the Royal Rumble. He was also considered the industry's 'first gay superstar'.
In a statement, WWE said: "WWE is saddened to learn that Pat Patterson has passed away at the age of 79."
"A true trailblazer of the industry, Patterson was linked to many 'firsts' in sports-entertainment throughout his storied career, including the first-ever Intercontinental Title reign and the creation of the Royal Rumble Match. In a career spanning six decades, the renaissance man left an indelible mark on the industry in the ring, on the microphone and behind the scenes."
The statement added: "WWE extends its condolences to Patterson's family and friends."
Patterson was born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1941, and began training to wrestle at the age of 14.
After starting out in the sport in Canada, eventually he emigrated to America to pursue his professional wrestling career, settling in San Francisco's Bay Area - where he became a fixture for nearly two decades.
Patterson made his WWE (at the time known as the World Wrestling Federation) in 1979, becoming the first Intercontinental Champion in September that year.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson has passed away. https://t.co/SDMTR6skZn- WWE (@WWE) December 2, 2020
In 1980, Patterson teamed up with Vince McMahon as a color commenator, before his in-ring retirement came in 1984.
In 1988, he created the Royal Rumble Match, a format base don the classic Battle Royal match that sees a number of wrestlers compete to eliminate their competitors, throwing them over the top rope.
He later returned to the ring during WWE's Attitude era, before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 by Bret Hart.
In its tribute to the star, WWE said: "In his 25-plus years in WWE, Patterson was synonymous with making history. From the Intercontinental Title to the Royal Rumble Match and beyond, his name will forever be revered in WWE lore. This amazing legacy was captured in Patterson's 2016 autobiography, Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE, a moving chronicle about his life both inside and out of the ring."