WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who was also known as “The American Dream,” died Thursday, WWE said. He was 69. A cause of death has not been revealed.
His family did not immediately issue a statement, but the WWE wrote a tribute to the wrestler, whose real name was Virgil Runnels. “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,” the message read. “WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.”
Emergency personnel were called to Rhodes’ home in Orlando, Florida Wednesday morning after he fell, source told TMZ. He was rushed to the hospital, where he ultimately died.
Rhodes, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, leaves behind four children.
WWE stars like Triple H and Ric Flair mourned the wrestler on Twitter. Triple H called Rhodes his “mentor” and Flair said “The American Dream” sent “much love” to his family. Their messages were quickly shared hundreds of times by their thousands of followers. Some of their posts have been shared below:
Saddened to hear the passing of Dusty Rhodes. Legend, teacher, mentor, friend…Love you Dream #BookinAintEasyKid
My mentor @WWEDustyRhodes. Much love to your family and more respect than can ever be measured. Love you Dream.
RIP MY BROTHER DUSTY RHODES. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FOREVER #RIPDUSTY
I am absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of my long time friend Dusty Rhodes. One of the best ever. GO
My children just called with the news that @WWEDustyRhodes had passed away. I’m crushed. He was a one-of-a-kind talent with an amazing mind.
The news of #DustyRhodes
Overwhelmed by the passing of Dusty,the man that hooked me on wrestling without him I would never have been interested,RIP only love. HH