June 11, 2015
'The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes has died, WWE announced Thursday in a statement on its website:
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.
Rhodes was one of the most iconic figures in the world of professional wrestling. A three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Rhodes redefined the wrestling promo to become what it's known to be today. He used his words so eloquently and deliberately that wrestling fans just couldn't help but get pumped up. He also became one of the industry's best creative minds, booking top notch storylines and angles for WCW and WWE while still a performer and after retiring.
Rhodes' most storied rivalry is probably his feud with Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen in the 1980's. He and Flair had some great back and forth matches and wins and losses, and each match still holds up today as some of the greatest wrestling contests in history. Eventually, the two reconciled and Rhodes inducted the Horsemen into WWE's Hall of Fame in 2012.
Rhodes is a member of five Hall of Fames, which include: WWE , NWA , WCW , the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame , and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame .
There was no task too little for "The Dream," as he was fully enveloped in WWE's developmental territory for years, eventually seeing the birth of NXT. Rhodes without a doubt has had a tremendous impact on the wrestling careers of not only everybody on WWE's main roster, but also those currently at NXT.
Rhodes' two sons, Dustin and Cody, are currently under contract to WWE.
Here is some reaction from some of wrestling's top names:
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.— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) June 11, 2015
I'm so sad to hear of the passing of The American Dream. RIP Dusty Rhodes. One of the all time greats...in and out of the ring.— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) June 11, 2015
My hero,the man that made me believe, the reason I took my name @WWEDustyRhodes I love you & your family.— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) June 11, 2015
I am absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of my long time friend Dusty Rhodes. One of the best ever. GO pic.twitter.com/e0BolBDNZj— Gene Okerlund (@TheGeneOkerlund) June 11, 2015
My heart goes out the the Runnels family, Dusty Rhodes was one of the all-time greats. He was a friend, a teacher and a good man.— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) June 11, 2015
There are no words that can express the sadness in our hearts. RIP Dusty Rhodes…You will be missed, Dream…We love you pic.twitter.com/45dPxrS3JB— Kevin Owens (@FightOwensFight) June 11, 2015
"I've wined and dined with kings and queens... And I've slept in alleys and ate pork and beans!" ❤️ pic.twitter.com/VKnSXU2Qpl— Charlotte (@MsCharlotteWWE) June 11, 2015
The word icon gets used a lot in the wrestling world but rest assured that today the wrestling world lost a true icon in Dusty Rhodes.......— Brian Heffron (@BlueMeanieBWO) June 11, 2015
Heartbroken to read that the man that made me, Dusty Rhodes, has passed away. I didn't say it enough, but thank you Dream.— Steve Corino (@KINGCorino) June 11, 2015
Terribly saddened to hear about the passing of @WWEDustyRhodes..He changed the biz in so many ways. My thoughts & prayers are w/ his family.— Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) June 11, 2015
TNA President, Dixie Carter, also mourned the loss of "The Dream."
I am just heartbroken to know @WWEDustyRhodes has gone to the big ranch in the sky. You will always be so special to me Dream!! 😢😢— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) June 11, 2015
Here's Dusty's Hall of Fame speech from 2007.
And yes, we're going through some hard times right now.
His last appearance on WWE television would be on the Monday Night Raw episode from February 16th of this year, trying to get both of his sons back on the same page.