WWE legend Harley Race, 8-time NWA world heavyweight champion, dies at age 76

Hall of Fame member Harley Race   attends the "Big Event" at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel on March 4, 2017 in New York City.  Photo by: George Napolitano/ MediaPunch/IPX
WWE Hall of Fame member Harley Race died Thursday at the age of 76. (George Napolitano/ MediaPunch/IPX)

WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race died Thursday due to complications from lung cancer, according to WWE. He was 76.

His Twitter account announced the news, saying he fought “up until the very last of his existence.”

Race is an eight-time National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Champion. He dominated in the 1970s and 80s, participating in a total of four organizations, and was one of professional wrestling’s most respected. He is one of only six to be inducted in the WWE, NWA, Wrestling Observer Newsletter and Pro Wrestling Hall of Fames, according to CBS Sports.

Race’s health had been declining for years and he was confined to a wheelchair. Earlier this month he was hospitalized while traveling to the Knoxville Fanboy Expo.

According an Instagram post by World League Wrestling, and retweeted by his account, he exhibited signs that “needed to be addressed by medical personnel.” He was admitted July 11 to a hospital far from his family, prompting a T-shirt fundraiser for expenses, and all of his appearances on the schedule were canceled.

The Missouri native debuted in 1960 and had legendary feuds with fellow superstars Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and the Funk brothers, Terry and Dory Jr. In 1986 he joined the WWE during expansion and feuded with Hulk Hogan. In 1991 he retired to a career in television.

The wrestler stayed active in promoting and training after retirement. His annual Harley Race Camp, held at the Harley Race Academy, is currently accepting participants. It’s scheduled to run Labor Day weekend.

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