staff, April 28, 2015

The University of Minnesota and the wrestling community lost a legend late Monday night, as ex-Minnesota wrestler Verne Gagne, 89, passed away after an extended battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Gagne won four Big Ten championships and was the program's first three-time All-America (1947, 1948 and 1949) and first two-time NCAA champion (1948 and 1949).

"Verne represents what's great about the University of Minnesota and our wrestling program," Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said in a school release. "He was an incredible athlete — Big Ten champ, national champ, Olympian — but he also selflessly served his country, took academics seriously and used the opportunity provided through college athletics to lead a successful life and give back to his alma mater. Verne's legacy is a lasting example our student-athletes can all aspire to achieve."

Gagne went on to have a decorated professional wrestling career, winning 16 World Heavyweight Championships, before becoming owner and promoter of the American Wrestling Association (AWA).

Read release.