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'American Dream' Dusty Rhodes dead at 69

Pro wrestling hall of famer Dusty Rhodes attends

Pro wrestling hall of famer Dusty Rhodes attends the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation's 12th Annual Celebrity Gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on November 13, 2014 in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dusty Rhodes, "The American Dream" and WWE Hall of Famer, died Thursday at age 69, the pro wrestling organization announced.

Rhodes, whose real name was Virgil Runnels was a three-time NWA champion and was known for his charismatic and captivating interviews.

"Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit," the WWE said in a statement.

His family followed in his WWE footsteps as sons Dustin and Cody Runnels competed as Goldust and Stardust, respectively.

"Saddened to hear the passing of Dusty Rhodes. Legend, teacher, mentor, friend...Love you Dream," tweeted Triple H.

More pro wrestling personalities offered their respect to the man who "wined and dined with kings and queens and I've slept in alleys and dined on pork and beans."

SAMOA JOE: "The Dream will live FOREVER in my heart. Thank you for the wisdom and for always making me smile. The stratosphere is reserved for you."

AIDEN ENGLISH: "140 damn characters isn't enough...Dream was a legend who always believed in me. I will NEVER forget what he taught me. Rest in Peace."

STEPHANIE MCMAHON: "#RIPDustyRhodes We never got to shoot our angle together! Thank you for everything, I Love You. #HallofFamer #Legend"

GENE OKERLUND: "I am absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of my long time friend Dusty Rhodes. One of the best ever."

SETH ROLLINS: "I was ever so fortunate to be a friend to this man, to learn from him as a performer and as a human being. #RIPDusty"

JIMMY HART: "I was so honored to write Dusty Rhodes' theme song "common man" - the American Dream and Dusty will live on forever - love ya Dream"

ZACK RYDER: "I'm so sad to hear of the passing of The American Dream. RIP Dusty Rhodes. One of the all time and out of the ring."

MICHAEL COLE: "Godspeed dream. You taught me so much these last few years. Prayers and love to the family"


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