Verne Gagne is a wrestling legend. He was the owner and perennial champion of the American Wrestling Association (an early WWE), and hosted the “league’s” weekly Smackdown-style TV show, “All-Star Wrestling” - which just so happened to be the one of the highest rated primetime shows for almost 40 years. Now it seems that, afflicted with Alzheimers, an 82-year-old Gagne may have killed his 97-year-old roommate in a fight in their assisted-living home.
Twin Cities FOX affiliate MYFOX9.COM has the story, with requisite newsreel coverage, which claims that Gagne is suspected of breaking 97-year-old Helmut R. Gutmann’s leg and injuring his head in a fight. That scuffle sent the former cancer scientist and survivor of Nazi Germany to the hospital, where he recovered but still died from the effects of the attack four days later
There’s no word on whether Gagne will be charged with any crime because of his precarious mental state. It’s also possible that the attack, which happened Jan. 26, may have contributed to Guttman’s death but not caused it directly. After all, a lot can go wrong in a 97-year-old body.
(Stay away, Vince. He’s stronger than you think.)
Elderly rights groups are already lining up to try and argue that Gagne shouldn’t be charged, and it does seem hard to justify sending him through the legal process at age 82 when he may not know what he’s doing at all.
Still, the sad incident has already cost the former wrestling one thing: His home. He was kicked out of the assisted living facility immediately after the incident, and there’s no word whether he’s living with relatives again or is in another home.