WWE Hall of Fame Wrestler Dusty Rhodes Dies at 69

Dusty Rhodes - S 2015

Dusty Rhodes - S 2015

Virgil Runnels, aka "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, wrestled for 40 years.

Hall of Fame wrestler Virgil Runnels, aka "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, died Thursday at the age of 69, the WWE announced. No cause of death was given. 

Rhodes, one of wrestling's most charismatic figures, first entered the ring in 1968 and was active until 2007. During that time, he was a three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Rhodes played the underdog role of the "Common Man" and was known as much for his promo skills on the microphone as his wrestling moves.

Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 by his two sons, Dustin and Cody, both of whom currently wrestle for the company.

"Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit," read WWE's official statement on his passing. "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's executive vp talent, live events and creative, Triple H, broke the news on Twitter: