“One of the most charismatic figures in pro wrestling history” died today, says a story in the Los Angeles Times, reporting the death of the wrestler known as Dusty Rhodes.
Rhodes suffered what’s being reported as “numerous complications” from a fall at his home in Orlando, Fla.
“Born Virgil Runnels, Rhodes achieved his greatest popularity as a wrestler in the 1970s and ’80s, when he lived up to his nickname, ‘The American Dream.’ He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 and served as a promo coach for WWE developmental in recent years,” the Times reports.
The WWE issued a statement that reads:
“WWE is deeply saddened that Virgil Runnels, aka ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes — WWE Hall of Famer, three-time NWA Champion and one of the most captivating and charismatic figures in sports entertainment history — passed away today at the age of 69.
“Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit. Moreover, Runnels was a dedicated father to WWE Superstars Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and Stardust (Cody Runnels), a caring husband and a creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE long after his in-ring career had ended.
“WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.”
Here’s a clip of Rhodes in action against Ric Flair in June 1986: