Wrestling Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes passes away

WWE.com announced earlier today that "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes has passed away.  Virgil Runnels, more commonly known as Dusty Rhodes died at the age of 69.

Rhodes was born October 12, 1945 in Austin.

According to the Associated Press, Runnels, was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, and held the NWA championship three times. He became famous during the height of wrestling's popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, appearing in signature yellow polka dot tights with his sidekick "valet" Sapphire. He also was the father of two other famous WWE wrestlers: Dustin Runnels, better known as Goldust, and Cody Runnels who wrestles under the name Stardust.

Rhodes was known for is "Figure 4 Leglock" and "Bionic Elbow"

The company says Runnels died Thursday, but a spokesman declined to say where or how he passed away, saying the family had not authorized the release of that information.

The WWE released the following official statement on Thursday:

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.

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.

The Associated Press Contributed to this story.
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