The pro-wrestling world is mourning the loss of Dusty Rhodes.
The WWE Hall of Famer, whose real name was Virgil Runnels, died Thursday at the age of 69, as confirmed by WWE.com. Although the causes of his death are currently unknown, what is known and undisputed is what a charismatic pioneer Runnels was for pro-wrestling throughout the years.
"The American Dream" was a three-time NWA champion before bringing his services to the WWE, then-WWF, WCW, TNA and back to the WWE as one of the most entertaining, lovable and captivating personalities that pro-wrestling has ever seen.
Triple H took to his Twitter account Thursday to mourn the loss and share some kind words about his fallen friend and mentor.
Saddened to hear the passing of Dusty Rhodes. Legend, teacher, mentor, friend...Love you Dream #BookinAintEasyKid
— Triple H (@TripleH) June 11, 2015
Ric Flair, who gained notoriety in the NWA with Runnels, also shared this heartfelt message.
My mentor @WWEDustyRhodes. Much love to your family and more respect than can ever be measured. Love you Dream.
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) June 11, 2015
Flair's picture shows Rhodes delivering his signature bionic elbow finisher.
Jerry "The King" Lawler also shared a vintage photo of Rhodes, Magnum TA and himself.
There was only one "American Dream" There will never be another like Dusty Rhodes. It was an honor to work with him. — Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) June 11, 2015
Well, after ending his pro-wrestling career, Runnels signed a WWE Legends contract in 2005 that allowed him to work behind the scenes as part of the WWE's creative team as a consultant for the past 10 years. In 2007, he was emotionally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his two sons, Dustin Runnels (Goldust) and Cody Runnels (Stardust), who still compete in the WWE today. Not only was Rhodes an effective, talented wrestler, but his contributions to sports entertainment made him a visionary of its improvement and popularity through the years. Rest in peace to "The American Dream."