WWE legends Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg express grief as ex-wrestler Kamala dies at 70 |
High blood pressure, diabetes, Covid-19 contribute to death of “The Ugandan Giant”
Aug 10, 2020 |
Hindustan Times – World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) lost another legend on Monday.
It was announced by the professional wrestling giants that former wrestler James Harris, better known as Kamala, has died at the age of 70.
Harris was battling a lot of health issues since 2011. Harris had his left leg amputated below the knee due to complications of high blood pressure and diabetes in 2011.
The right leg also had to be amputated below the knee.
WWE said in a statement:
“WWE is saddened to learn that James Harris, known to WWE fans as Kamala, has passed away at age 70. WWE extends its condolences to Harris’ family, friends, and fans.”
WWE legend Hulk Hogan on Monday expressed grief over his demise.
Hogan took to Instagram and wrote, “So sorry to hear about the passing of Kamala. His passion for entertaining a crowd was second to none. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans, much love. Rest in peace.” Read more.
DON’T LET DIABETES TAKE YEARS OFF YOUR LIFE:
James ‘Kamala’ Harris (May 28, 1950 – August 9, 2020) was an American professional wrestler.
Nicknamed “The Ugandan Giant”, Kamala portrayed a fearsome and simpleminded Ugandan who wrestled barefoot in war paint and a loincloth, and approached the ring wearing an African mask and carrying a spear and shield.
He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the mid-1980s and early 1990s.
Harris was born on May 28, 1950, in Senatobia, Mississippi. He grew up in Coldwater, Mississippi, where his family owned a furniture store. He has four sisters. When he was around four, his father was shot dead during a dice game, leaving the family impoverished.
As a youth, Harris worked as a sharecropper to help support his family.
Harris left high school in the ninth grade and became a habitual burglar. In 1967, local police suggested he leave town. As Harris put it, “Back then if you didn’t leave like they said, you would be found dead somewhere.”
He relocated to Florida, where he drove trucks and picked fruit. At age 25, he moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan, where he met wrestler Bobo Brazil.
Harris then began training as a wrestler, under Brazil’s friend, “Tiny” Tim Hampton. He moved to Arkansas to continue training and escape the snow in Michigan.
Kamala performed on various wrestling circuits throughout his career including the World Wrestling Federation.
At Hulk Hogan’s suggestion, Kamala joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1995. He was introduced as part of Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom stable, whose goal was to end Hogan’s career.
In his first WCW pay-per-view appearance, he defeated “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan at Bash at the Beach. He lost a singles match to Hogan at Clash of the Champions XXXI.
He was part of the “Dungeon of Doom” team at Fall Brawl, which lost to Hogan’s team, “The Hulkamaniacs”
Harris was married to Sheila Stover from 1974 to 2005. After the couple divorced, Harris married Melissa Guzman. Harris lived with his niece Ashley in Senatobia, Mississippi until moving to Oxford, Mississippi.
In July 1993, Harris was called away from a WWF tour after an Oakland, California show when his youngest sister and her stepdaughter were shot dead. The killer attempted suicide, but only severely disfigured himself.
After his WWF release that August, Harris pushed for the man’s arrest and conviction. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and died in 2013. Harris went on to help raise his surviving niece.
Beginning in 1993, Harris wrote, performed, and produced his own music. He wrote over 100 songs. Some discuss his frustration with the working conditions he experienced in the wrestling industry, most notably the low pay.
He released his debut album, The Best of Kamala Vol 1, through his official website. The album features a ballad dedicated to the memory of Stanley “Tookie” Williams.
In 2015, Harris completed his autobiography along with one of his wrestling managers, Kenny Casanova, to help him offset medical costs. Kamala Speaks was funded on Kickstarter and self-published in December 2014. It tells his life story, of his wrestling career, and the loss of both of his legs to diabetes.
On November 7, 2011, Harris had his left leg amputated below the knee due to complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, a condition he had since 1992, which forced him to retire because he did not accept dialysis treatment.
In April 2012, his right leg was also amputated below the knee and a campaign was launched seeking donations to cover his financial needs.
Harris told Bleacher Report in 2014 that he relied on a disability check, sold handmade wooden chairs, and had recently written a book about his life.
In July 2016, Harris was named as part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury.
The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. The lawsuit was dismissed by District of Connecticut judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant in September 2018.
On November 19, 2017, Harris underwent life-saving emergency surgery to clear fluid from around his heart and lungs at a hospital in Oxford, Mississippi.
He was then on life support due to complications. The next day, his daughter said he showed signs of improvement, but remained on life support.
On November 22, it was reported that he was able to breathe on his own yet was unable to talk and remained under intensive care.
On August 5, 2020, he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. He likely contracted it from one of his numerous weekly visits to the dialysis center, his wife said.
After he went into cardiac arrest on August 9, 2020, Harris died from Coronavirus later that afternoon, at the age of 70. Source.