U.S. wrestling legend, Dusty Rhodes, known as “The American Dream”, has died at the age of 69. Rhodes, whose real name was Virgil Runnels Jr, spent several decades as a main-event attraction in pro wrestling.
He was a three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, twice by beating Harley Race and once by defeating Ric Flair. The wrestler was known for his polka dot tights and was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Rhodes played a working-class hero and “son of a plumber” who was in a long, memorable feud with wealthy “Nature Boy” Flair in the 1980s. When Flair became the leader of the Four Horsemen stable in the mid-80s, Rhodes was a primary and frequent target of their four-on-one attacks.
He was also among the best promo men in pro wrestling, where he helped encourage customers to come to live events and also pay-per-view TV broadcasts. Rhodes was also a booker and in more recent years had been a creative consultant for the WWE and also a trainer.
It has not been confirmed how he died but some reports said he suffered from kidney failure. Rhodes is survived by his two sons who also became wrestlers, Dusten “Goldust” Runnels and Cody “Stardust” Runnels.