The son of a plumber, Dusty Rhodes suffered from the crippling disease osteomyelitis, a bone affliction that prevented him from walking as a boy. As a man of the people, he possessed tremendous drive, courage and charisma that made him 275 pounds of blue-eyed soul who captivated an entire nation. Continue Reading | Latest Dusty Rhodes News
WWE’s statement reads, “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.”
Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE’s Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative broke the sad news on Twitter a few minutes prior, stating, “Saddened to hear the passing of Dusty Rhodes. Legend, teacher, mentor, friend…Love you Dream #BookinAintEasyKid.”
According to TMZ.com, emergency personnel responded to Runnels’ home in Orlando, Florida the previous day at 5:56 a.m. after receiving a phone call that he had fallen. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he passed away. Runnels suffered “numerous complications” due to the fall, which ultimately proved fatal. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer reported that Runnels’ kidneys shut down and he suffered from dehydration.
The son of a plumber, Dusty Rhodes suffered from the crippling disease osteomyelitis, a bone affliction that prevented him from walking as a boy. As a man of the people, he possessed tremendous drive, courage and charisma that made him 275 pounds of blue-eyed soul who captivated an entire nation.
In September 1977, “The American Dream” came to WWE and waged war against then-WWE Champion “Superstar” Billy Graham. Their matches sold out Madison Square Garden and culminated in a Texas Bullrope Match. Dusty left and went on to great success in Florida and the Carolinas region, enjoying three reigns as NWA Champion. His epic struggle against the Four Horsemen in the mid-1980s is widely considered one of the greatest rivalries of all time.
In 1990, Rhodes returned to WWE as the blue-collar worker for the common man. In polka-dotted ring trunks with his valet Sapphire, his popularity reached its greatest heights as he engaged in bitter rivalries with the Big Boss Man, “Macho King” Randy Savage and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. In the early 1990s, Dusty returned to WCW as a broadcaster. In 2000, he made a brief stop in ECW.
In 2005, he returned to WWE working behind the scenes. Even after five decades, he isn’t afraid to step in the ring and show today’s Superstars how to mix it up, as witnessed at WWE Homecoming, Survivor Series in 2006 when he teamed with Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter and Ron Simmons, and his match with Randy Orton at The Great American Bash in 2007. Rhodes continued to appear on WWE programming and even guest hosted Monday Night Raw in 2009, despite at times breaking up rules to help his son Cody.
Dusty Rhodes was the true working man’s champion. As Cody said as he inducted Dusty into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, “He didn’t need a ‘Pit’ or a ‘Parlor,’ all he needed was a mic.” Dusty has truly lived life at the end of a lightening bolt.
The obituary for Virgil Runnels, Jr. (aka Dusty Rhodes), who passed away on Thursday after falling in his home the previous day, was published Sunday by The Tampa Tribune.
RUNNELS, Virgil, Jr. (aka Dusty Rhodes), left this Earth on June 11, 2015. He was sur-rounded by his four children and his loving and devoted wife. He was pre-ceded in death by parents, Virgil Runnels, Sr., Katherine Trefell and step-father, Mike Trefell. Dusty is sur-vived by his wife, Michelle Rubio Runnels; children, Dustin (Ta-rel), Kristin Ditto (Don), Teil Gergel (Kevin), and Cody (Brandi); grand-children, Dakota Runnels, Dalton and Dylan Ditto, and Maris and Kellan Gergel.
Also survived by brother, Larry (Denay) of Louisville, CO; and sister, Connie Jones (Gary) of Pensacola, FL. Dusty and Michelle spent 37 years of devoted marital bliss. He was the ultimate pro-vider and a legend for all the right reasons. The family would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Dr. Joe Chiaramonte and Bran-don Health Management for their loving care and support. The family re-quests donations in Dusty’s memory to Connor’s Cure (givetochildrens.org/connorscure) and Joe Torre Safe At Home (joetorre.org).