American wrestler James ‘Kamala’ Harris dies at 70, WWE confirms

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Tributes were paid to American wrestler James “Kamala” Harris, who died at the age of 70.

He has been described as a “great character” and an “extremely nice man” after World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced his death on Sunday.

The 6-foot-7 star was best known for his appearances during the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) era, the mid-1980s and early 1990s.

He fought Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Andre the Giant among others.

Later in life he suffered from serious health problems and had his left leg amputated in 2011 due to diabetes.

Kamala’s character, the “Ugandan Giant”, appeared in war paint and a mask and carried a spear; a portrayal that has been criticized by some fans as insensitive to racism.

But Harris said he loved the role and being an artist. In 2012, he recalled how his mentor Jerry Lawler invented the character of Kamala.

“He put the paint and stuff on me and they put the little skirt on me,” Harris said. “I like to do this stuff. ”

In his day, Harris was a popular opponent for The Undertaker. The two fought in the 1992 Survivor Series in a “coffin match”, with the Undertaker coming out on top in front of 18,000 fans at the Richfied Colisseum in Ohio.

‘Worked the gadget’

“God bless Kamala, he’s always put on a show for the fans. A good big man who has worked the gadget better than most. It breaks my heart, ”tweeted former wrestler The Iron Sheik.

“Sorry to hear that a legend has passed,” added former wrestler and commentator Taz.

Another former wrestling star, Jerry “The King” Lawler paid tribute by posting a photo of Harris in action.

Harris is originally from Mississippi and began wrestling in 1978 under the ring name “Sugar Bear”.

In 2004, he made a surprise return to the rebranded WWE.

“Such a great character,” wrestling reporter Sean Ross said. “Memorable and influential. May he rest in peace. “

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