The Rather Sad Tale Of Minnesota Wrestling Icon Verne Gagne

Verne Gagne, an 82-year-old wrestling legend who feuded with Hulk Hogan and was an all-conference football player at the University of Minnesota, is being investigated in the death of his 97-year-old roommate.

Gagne suffers from Alzheimer's-related dementia, and was living in an assisted care facility in Bloomington, Minn., when he allegedly got into a fight with Helmut R. Gutmann, who also lived there.

Gutmann suffered a broken leg and a head injury in the fight. He was hospitalized, then released, but then was re-hospitalized due to complications. Four days ago, Gutmann died.

Police are investigating the death and trying to determine if Gagne had a role in it.

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Gagne wrestled and played football at the University of Minnesota, winning a spot in the latter on the 1948 U.S. Olympic team. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and played there for two seasons, before turning to pro wrestling in 1950. He was also involved in broadcasting and promotion in the American Wrestling Association, eventually becoming owner of the AWA, helping to launch the careers of Hogan and Jesse Ventura.

Betty Gutmann, who lived at Friendship Village with her husband of 63 years, told MinnPost.com. that she is sad and upset about the attack — but said those feelings are tempered by the realization that Gagne probably did not understand what he was doing.

"You can't blame the person that did it," she said. "(Gagne) doesn't know what he's doing. I feel so sorry for his family, because they are faced with a terrible problem of what to do."

Wrestling Legend Verne Gagne Suspect In Death Investigation [Fox9.com]
Famed Wrestler Gagne Linked To Death Of Man, 97 [Minneapolis Star Tribune]