We all know death is inevitable, but certain deaths can hit some people harder than others. Long-time wrestling fans were hit hard today with the passing of Virgil Runnels, known in the wrestling world as “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed, though some reliable sources are claiming his passing was due to apparent kidney failure. He is survived by his wife and four kids, two of which are active WWE wrestlers: Dustin “Golddust” Runnels and Cody “Stardust” Runnels.
World Wrestling Entertainment released the following statement,
“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.”
Considered one of the most charismatic wrestlers of all time, The Dream was a fan favorite who enjoyed pleasing the fans. Over the length of his career, Runnels held multiple titles. He has been the heavyweight champion for a number of wrestling organizations (Jim Crockett Productions, NWA, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Central States Wrestling) as well as shared the Tag Team Championship title numerous times throughout the wrestling industry. He is just one of six men to be inducted in every wrestling Hall of Fame around: WWE, WCW, Professional Wrestling, and Wrestling Observer Newsletter HOF.
The well-loved and well-respected Rhodes/Runnels is a sad loss for the industry. But we can always look back at all of the great matches and performances he gave the world. Have a look at The American Dream’s impromptu match in NWA from June 1986 where he took on Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair… two legends at it!
Twitter users: Dusty Rhodes handle was @WWEDustyRhodes. Many current and former WWE stars have tweeted their condolences. You can find many using the hashtags #RIPDusty and #RIPDustyRhodes.