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Former WWE Legend Kamala Tragically Passes Away

August 9, 2020
3 min read

James Harris, or Kamala, a professional wrestling legend, passed away today at the age of 70. WWE released a statement that Kamala’s passing was tragic and has saddened everyone who knew him. Kamala reportedly battled a gamut of health issues (diabetes and high blood pressure) in the past few years. A couple of years ago doctors had to amputate both his legs because of the infection caused by diabetes.

Harris was born in Senatobia, Mississippi, in May 1950. He started his professional wrestling career from 1978, under the name ‘Sugar Bear.’ Soon, he started gaining fame and was offered to become a part of the Continental Wrestling Association. It marked the start of an association between James Harris and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and would lead to the creation of Kamala as a character. Harris initially went with Kimala, who was billed as a Ugandan. He then went to work on the role along with Lawler and Jerry Jarrett, the founder of CWA. Harris spent some time wrestling for the CWA, Mid-South Wrestling and World Class Championship Wrestling, before making his debut on the stage that would win him the admiration and adoration of several fans.

His WWF debut was in 1984, where Kamala started locking horns with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. He left and returned to the WWF numerous times throughout the 80s and early 90s. Harris also kept appearing for promotions related to WWE. Kamala even briefly performed for the WCW in 1995 when he was semi-retired, suggesting that Hogan should join the company. There were several appearances from Harris in the 2000s for WWE/WWF. However, the final match came in 2006, though Kamala remained affiliated to the wrestling circuit up until 2010.

Soon after that, Harris started experiencing severe health issues, and his left leg was amputated in November 2011 – due to a combination of factors including diabetes and high blood pressure. Notably, Harris suffered from both since the early 90s. He lost his other leg just five months later, and in November 2017, Harris was put on life support after emergency surgery. Overall, Kamala had been fighting a long and uphill battle for quite some time.

The wrestler’s death has saddened many. The Cauliflower Alley Club, an organization which financially aids wrestlers who have fallen on tough times, said, “The CAC family wishes to extend our sincerest condolences to the family friends and fans the world over upon the news that the legendary James ‘Kamala’ Harris has passed away at the age of 70.” See it here.

Everyone in the wrestling circuit has come together to offer their condolences and to remember the legend who touched many lives over the matches he participated in, for various promotions. Tommy Dreamer, of House of Hardcore, stated that it would be tough to find someone like Kamala today. See his post here.

Understandably, fans might be eager to pay their tributes to the legendary wrestler, but we must respect Kamala’s family’s need for space and privacy during such trying times. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

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