Professional wrestler Harley Race dies at 76

Eight-time NWA world champion and WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race died Thursday at the age of 76, it was announced on his official Twitter page.

Race, who had been battling lung cancer, was hospitalized in mid-July and was under doctors’ care for a week before returning home last Tuesday.

Race’s in-ring career stretched from the early 1960s through 1990, as he spent most of his career with the NWA as a contemporary and rival of Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Dory Funk and Jack Brisco, among many others. In addition to his eight reigns as NWA world champion, then a record, Race was the first NWA United States champion. His steel cage match against Flair at NWA’s “Starrcade” show in 1983 represents one of the defining moments of each of their careers.

Race spent time in the WWE (then the WWF) late in his career and won the second WWE King of the Ring event — earning him the nickname of “King” Harley Race, which stuck with him for the rest of his career. He also performed with the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

After his retirement from in-ring action, Race continued to make an impact on the world of professional wrestling as a manager, promoter and trainer.

He has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, NWA Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and WCW Hall of Fame.

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