WWE fans are mourning the death of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes (real name: Virgil Runnels), who died Thursday, June 11. He was 69.
The wrestling empire confirmed the news in a statement to Us Weekly, describing the WWE Hall of Famer as “one of the most captivating and charismatic figures in sports entertainment history.”
“Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews, and his indomitable spirit,” the statement read. “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.”
The company added, “WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends, and colleagues.”
Virgil Runnels, known by his WWE stage name Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes
Many of those colleagues, in fact, took to Twitter to memorialize the wrestling legend. Read some of their reactions below.
— Triple H (@TripleH) June 11, 2015
RIP MY BROTHER DUSTY RHODES. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FOREVER #RIPDUSTY
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) June 11, 2015
— WWE Murphy (@WWE_Murphy) June 11, 2015
Heartbroken to read that the man that made me, Dusty Rhodes, has passed away. I didn’t say it enough, but thank you Dream.
— Steve Corino (@KINGCorino) June 11, 2015
Terribly saddened to hear about the passing of @WWEDustyRhodes..He changed the biz in so many ways. My thoughts & prayers are w/ his family.
— Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) June 11, 2015
My heart is so heavy. Thank you Dream for all you gave me that you never had to. I’ll never let you down, my friend. pic.twitter.com/PvoxThMchA
— Adam Pearce (@ScrapDaddyAP) June 11, 2015
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also shared a lengthy remembrance on Instagram, sharing how he and his family first met the wrestler, and how much he owes him. “Dusty’s epically entertaining “Bionic elbow” was my inspiration to create ‘The most electrifying move in sports entertainment – The People’s Elbow,'” the now-actor wrote. “This Heavyweight World Champion personified the blue collar fighting spirit and his influence on the wrestling business is invaluable. I’ll be forever grateful for the tremendous influence he’s had on me and my career in our beloved squared circle. Miss you and love you Dusty.. RIP brother.”
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