WWE legend Pat Patterson, the man who created the "Royal Rumble", has died aged 79.

Patterson was wrestling's first openly gay star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

"WWE extends its condolences to Patterson’s family and friends," the company said in a statement.

The sporting legend retired in 1984 after a 34 career in the ring and in the commentary booth.

After becoming a WWE executive in 1988, where he pitched the idea for the 'Royal Rumble' which is now a staple of the brand.

"The first Royal Rumble was on January 24, 1988, in Hamilton, Ontario," he explained in his book.

"The difference between WWE’s Royal Rumble and a traditional over-the-top rope battle royal is that the participants come into the match at two-minute intervals -- not all at the same time at the beginning of the match.

"I wanted to create something special."

Patterson came out as gay in 2014, during an episode of WWE Legends House.

The WWE went on to release a lengthy statement after Pattison's passing.

"For all his efforts, Pat Patterson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 by Bret Hart," the wrote.

" his 25-plus years in WWE, Patterson was synonymous with making history. From the Intercontinental Title to the Royal Rumble Match and beyond, his name will forever be revered in WWE lore.

"This amazing legacy was captured in Patterson’s 2016 autobiography, Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE, a moving chronicle about his life both inside and out of the ring.

"WWE extends its condolences to Patterson’s family and friends.”