Lanny Poffo, a popular professional wrestler whose career spanned from the 1970s through the 2010s, has died. He was 68.
The news was announced by his friend “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan on Instagram.
“With a very, very heavy heart, I’ve been asked to let everyone know about the passing of our friend and colleague Lanny Poffo, The Genius. RIP Lanny,” Duggan wrote.
The cause of death has not been revealed.
“Arriving in WWE in 1985 alongside his brother, ‘Leaping’ Lanny Poffo was one of the first high-flyers in WWE,” WWE wrote on its web site. “While he achieved some success as a fan favorite reading his own poetry and throwing Frisbees to the crowd, he reached new heights as The Genius while managing Mr. Perfect [Curt Hennig]. WWE extends its condolences to Poffo’s family, friends and fans.”
Poffo was the son of professional wrestler Angelo Poffo, and the brother of WWE Hall of Famer Randy “Macho Man” Savage (real name Randy Poffo). At one point Angelo and Lanny Poffo were NWA tag-team champions together. He also competed in a tag-team with his brother in ICW, a promotion founded by their father. Savage was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his brother in 2015.
Lanny Poffo made his professional wrestling debut in 1974 in the All-South Wrestling Alliance territory in Georgia. He passed through various NWA promotions throughout the following decade. At this time, wrestling outlets were largely regional.
Poffo gained notoriety when he joined Vince McMahon’s WWE (then called the WWF) in 1985. He performed there as “Leaping” Lanny Poffo and with a gimmick as “The Genius” through 1992. He signed with WCW in the mid-1990s and received paychecks from the company, but was only booked for at most one un-televised match.
“LANNY POFFO MY BROTHER. I LOVE YOU FOREVER. GIVE NIKOLAI [VOLKOFF] RANDY AND [MISS] ELIZABETH HUG FOR ME,” tweeted the Iron Sheik, a former in-ring opponent of Poffo’s.
Professional wrestling lifer Tommy Dreamer tweeted, “I always enjoyed his work in ring & that he had poem for us all.”