Lanny Poffo, the American wrestler-poet who was known on the mat as "The Genius" and off it as the brother of fellow pro wrestling legend "Macho Man" Randy Savage, has died. He was 68.
No cause of death was announced. The sad news was announced by "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.
"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," Duggan wrote on Twitter. "RIP Lanny."
Poffo got his start in 1974 with the All-South Wrestling Alliance and eventually made his big-time debut with the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) in 1985.
He began his WWF career as the babyface high-flyer "Leaping" Lanny Poffo, who would recite poems mocking his foes and throw Frisbees into the crowd.
Later, Poffo turned heel as "The Genius," a flamboyant, pompous character who billed himself as the "world's smartest man" and wore an academic cap and gown to his fights.
Poffo became a fan favorite managing "Mr. Perfect," who joined "The Genius" to defeat Hulk Hogan via count out in a memorable match on Saturday Night's Main Event XXIV in 1989.
The wrestler Virgil was among those who paid tribute to Poffo, writing, "Love you and Randy more than you ever will know."
Lanny Poffo. The genius. Man. I am so sorry brother. Love you and Randy more than you ever will know. RIP pic.twitter.com/hAJozrZ5ck
— Virgil (@TheRealVirgil) February 2, 2023
The WWE also issued a statement honoring Poffo, saying he had a "style all his own."
"Arriving in WWE in 1985 alongside his brother, 'Leaping' Lanny Poffo was one of the first high-flyers in WWE. 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," the statement said.
"WWE extends its condolences to Poffo’s family, friends and fans."
After leaving the WWE, Poffo performed on the independent circuit for some years.
Lanny Poffo was born in Calgary, Canada, and grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois. His father Angelo Poffo was also a professional wrestler and promoter, and his brother, Randall Poffo, became one of the biggest pro wrestling stars of all time as "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
In 2015, Lanny inducted his late brother, who died in 2011 at the age of 58, into the WWE Hall of Fame. Lanny Poffo was also a published author of anti-drug poetry for children.