As noted earlier, the one and only Harley Race passed away earlier today at the age of 76. The news of his passing broke via Dustin Rhodes and the All Elite Wrestling Twitter account. Race’s official account has also confirmed the news.
Race had battled various health issues over the years and it was revealed in March that he was battling lung cancer.
His recent health issues forced him to pull out of a booking in Knoxville, TN last month. After being hospitalized for over a week, he went home and there was some optimism that he would pull through. According to his official account, Race passed away at 12:50 pm central time.
Today at 12:50, we lost the man that fought up until the very last of his existence. More information will be released soon, but just know that he loved pro-wrestling and the fans that loved him.
Harley Race, we love you
— Harley Race (@8XNWAChampion) August 1, 2019
WWE issued the following statement on Race’s passing:
WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race passes away
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race passed away today at age 76 due to complications from lung cancer.
Harley Race captured the NWA World Heavyweight Championship seven times, which stood as a record until Ric Flair broke it in 1991.
To this day, only a handful of Superstars can claim to have won more World Heavyweight Championships than Race.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Race was the National Wrestling Alliance’s most dominant champion, winning the sport’s oldest World Heavyweight Championship from the likes of Dory Funk Jr., Giant Baba, Terry Funk, Dusty Rhodes and Flair.
The tough-as-nails Race was so universally respected that WWE, despite having seceded from the NWA and having its own World Heavyweight Champion, chose to recognize Race’s title status as well. As a result, Race was the first NWA Champion to engage in title unification matchups against WWE Champions like “Superstar” Billy Graham and Bob Backlund.
In what seemed unthinkable at the time, Race, one of the NWA’s most influential figures of all time, joined WWE in 1986 during the company’s national expansion. After winning the King of the Ring tournament, Race was the first to don regal robes and a crown. “King” Harley Race was managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and was introduced to a new generation of fans. Race battled all of WWE’s top heroes and pinned Junkyard Dog at WrestleMania III in front of a record-setting attendance of 93,000 fans.
WWE extends its condolences to Race’s family, friends and fans