Cousin Luke passes away
Cousin Luke, who rocketed to sports-entertainment fame in the mid-1980s alongside Hillbilly Jim and Uncle Elmer, died on September 29, 2013, after valiantly battling several illnesses over the past few years.
Luke (real name Gene Petit) loved portraying the hillbilly character he became known for. “It was so much fun when I was in WWE,” he said in an interview several years ago. “The connection that Hillbilly Jim, Uncle Elmer and I had with the fans was just amazing. I loved every minute of it. It was like a down-home party wherever we appeared. I wasn’t in WWE for a very long time but I think I did make my mark there!”
WWE fans were a huge part of Luke’s inspiration, as they cheered on his underdog character and gave him the confidence he needed to become successful. They usually got what they wanted as Luke would finish off his opponents by coming off the ropes with his flying Big Splash.
“As Luke, I was just a good ol’ hillbilly boy who really didn’t know much about ‘rasslin,” he said. “But with the fans cheering me on, I was able to battle with the best of them, like Roddy Piper and Bob Orton, Jr.”
After leaving WWE, Petit continued on with the persona of Cousin Luke, traveling all over the United States and internationally, and never losing that momentum with his worldwide fanbase. He was also instrumental in training many sports-entertainers who would become successful in later years.
He may have been born Gene Petit, but deep down his soul became the wonderful Cousin Luke.
We mourn his loss and will never forget the wonderful, entertaining times he brought to the WWE Universe!