WWE star James 'Kamala' Harris dead at 70

The wrestler, known as 'Kamala the Ugandan Giant,' suffered from health complications for several years

Former WWE star James Harris has died at the age of 70.

The death of Harris, who was also known as "Kamala the Ugandan Giant," was confirmed by WWE in an online statement.

"Under the frightening face paint of Kamala, the 6-foot-7, 380-pound Harris battled the greatest Superstars in sports-entertainment history, including Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Andre the Giant," said the message. "He terrorized opponents and thrilled audiences in Mid-South, World Class Championship Wrestling, WCW and WWE until 2006."

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The organization did not provide any further details about Harris' death. However, the pro wrestler's autobiography co-author, Kenny Casanova, said online that his death was due to coronavirus.

WWE star James 'Kamala' Harris (center) has died at the age of 70. (Courtesy of WWE)

WWE star James 'Kamala' Harris (center) has died at the age of 70. (Courtesy of WWE)

"To make matters worse, it was Corona that took him; he was one of the good ones," the author wrote online referring to COVID-19, which is caused by the new coronavirus. "Kamala was one of the most believable monsters in wrestling. He played the role perfectly, but was also one of the nicest guys you could meet. In helping him get his book out there, we became pretty close over the years and I am happy to have been his friend."

Many health issues plagued Harris' recent years, including diabetes, which resulted in the amputation of both legs. In fact, Casanova said in his post that his medical issues caused "financial problems," and offered information for fans to make a monetary contribution to the family.

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Harris began his wrestling career under the name Sugar Bear Harris before running through a few other monikers but finding little success. It wasn't until a promoter suggested Harris loosely base his persona on Ugandan dictator Idi Amin that he began to find success.

Harris was known for walking into the ring with body and face paint and a spear.

James Harris was known as 'Kamala the Ugandan Giant.' (Courtesy of WWE)

James Harris was known as 'Kamala the Ugandan Giant.' (Courtesy of WWE)

Critics charged that the character of Kamala was based on racial stereotypes as wrestling announcers often used such terms as “savage” and “beast" to describe him.

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Harris said in interviews, later in life, that he found the gimmick fun and was not intended to cause harm. But he did note that he was underpaid at the time compared to other wrestlers and treated poorly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.