STAMFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) — A wrestling legend has passed away. WWE announced Thursday that Virgil Runnels, aka “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, died at the age of 69. No cause of death was given.
Rhodes was a three-time NWA champion and had legendary feuds with Ric Flair, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Harley Race, and Jerry “The King” Lawler, among others.
“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,” the WWE said in a statement.
The statement continued, “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.”
Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009. The wrestling community took to Twitter to express their condolences.