Gene Lewis/Cousin Luke passes away

Gene Pettit, who wrestled the early part of his career as Gene Lewis and the latter part as Cousin Luke, passed away today.

No other details are available.  He was in his early 60s, as he was a teammate in college football of Paul Orndorff.

While living in Tampa, he was a training partner outside the ring of the late Dale Lewis, one of the best U.S. amateur heavyweights of his era who was a star in Florida at the time.

As Gene Lewis, he was a journeyman wrestler whose main claim to fame is that his "brother" was a wrestling star.  He had good size but didn't break out of the pack.  He did other gimmicks, such as being The Mongol of Devastation Inc. in World Class Championship Wrestling, and Molokai as part of Kevin Sullivan's group in Florida in the early 80s.

He came to WWF in 1985 as Hillbilly Cousin Luke, the cousin of already established Hillbilly Jim.  Luke essentially took over for Lanny Kean who was Cousin Junior, but didn't last long with the promotion due to a broken ankle.

He worked the rest of his career, mostly in Northeast indies, as Cousin Luke.

He had battled serious health problems for the past decade, including back problems, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. 

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