WWE legend Kamala has died aged 70
Veteran wrestler James Harris - better known as Kamala to fans around the world - has died aged 70
Kamala was a familiar face to fans of WWE in the mid-1980s (back when it was known as WWF), most memorably challenging Hulk Hogan to a series of WWF Championship matches in late 1986 and early 1987.
The character of Kamala was one from a less enlightened era. Nicknamed 'The Ugandan Giant' and coming to the ring barefooted and wearing face paint, it has often been pointed to as an example of wrestling's problematic past, but the 6-foot-7, 380-pound Harris was able to make it into a long and successful career in the ring.
He made his debut in 1978 as "Sugar Bear" Harris, and wrestled in the UK and Germany as well as the US, before developing the Kamala character with the help of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett in 1982. Harris would keep up the gimmick by refusing to speak English in public.
In 1984, he would make his way to the WWF, being managed by Freddie Blassie and having memorable bouts with Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant.
He would spend the rest of the late-1980s and early-1990s bouncing between WWF and various other promotions. In 1995 he would appear in WCW as part of the 'Dungeon of Doom', an assembly of bad guy wrestlers united to take down his old foe Hulk Hogan. As usual, Hogan dispatched them easily.
Kamala would make occasional appearances in WWE throughout the 2000s, giving the fans a fun hit of nostalgia, wrestling the likes of Randy Orton and Umaga. However, he suffered health problems in his later life, having a leg amputated in 2011 due to complications of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Tributes have flooded in from the world of professional wrestling, including tweets from Taz and Jerry Lawler, the man who helped develop the character Harris would be best known for.
Just been told that Kamala has passed away. pic.twitter.com/oBGnezmujn
— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) August 9, 2020
A character that you created and a nice, nice man.
Athletic Big Man...
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) August 10, 2020
— head honcho (@OfficialTAZ) August 10, 2020
WWE is saddened to learn that James Harris, known to WWE fans as Kamala, has passed away at age 70.https://t.co/d0kGY4GcTO
— WWE (@WWE) August 10, 2020