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Pro wrestling legend, Four Horsemen founder dead at 81

STAMFORD, Conn. — Alan Rogowski, better known as Ole Anderson and a founding member of pro wrestling’s famed Four Horsemen, has died at age 81.

Rogowski teamed with Arn Anderson, Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard to create The Four Horsemen in 1986. The four “set a standard of style, attitude and success that has inspired every stable that followed,” World Wrestling Entertainment said Monday in announcing Anderson’s death.

“A founding member of The Four Horsemen, Ole’s hard-nosed style and gruff demeanor helped define the group as one of the greatest stables in sports-entertainment history,” WWE said.

No cause of death was revealed.

Rogowski got into pro wrestling in the late 1960s. He joined the “Anderson Family” in 1968, teaming with his storyline “brother” Gene Anderson to form the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. That pair won several tag team titles, along with a pairing of Rogowski and Larry “Lars” Anderson, CBS Sports said.

Rogowski eventually formed a new version of The Minnesota Wrecking Crew with Arn Anderson. They were a dominant force in pro wrestling that then was paired with Flair and Blanchard to form The Four Horsemen in 1986.

The Horsemen became one of the most legendary groups in wrestling history, dominating Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and, eventually, World Championship Wrestling, CBS said.

Rogowski retired in 1987. He returned briefly, reforming the group with Arn Anderson, Flair and Sting in 1989. After retiring again, he served as the group’s manager.

Flair posted his condolences on X, formerly Twitter.

“I will be grateful forever for you giving men the opportunity to become who I am today,” Flair wrote. “We didn’t always agree with each other, but the honest to God truth is you and Gene (Anderson) started me. Rest in peace my friend.”

A post from the wrestling promotions group NWA Legends praised Rogowski, saying he had fewer peers in wrestling.

“He was tough as nails, could handle himself in any situation,” NWA Legends posted on X. “Brutally honest, which offended some. Endeared him to others.”

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