In Memoriam

Former Wrestler James ‘Kamala' Harris Dies at 70

James "Kamala" Harris

Former professional wrestler James Harris, who was known as Kamala "the Ugandan Giant," has died at age 70, the WWE said.

Harris was a mainstay from the '80s and '90s when a cast of wrestling legends that also included Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Andre the Giant entertained fans.

WWE did not detail Harris' cause of death but Kenny Casanova, who co-wrote his biography, said on Facebook that "Corona took him."

Harris performed in face and body paint, wore a loincloth and spoke in grunts. While the character was criticized for trafficking in racial stereotypes, Harris spoke in interviews about having enjoyed being an entertainer, The Washington Post reported.

(Credit: WWE)

He was the son of sharecroppers who grew up in Mississippi and said he started training for a job as a wrestler after initially joking about the career choice because he was having trouble finding other work.

Harris said in an interview with that he stopped wrestling after years of low pay left him feeling used.

"After they had beaten me all over like a drum, not bragging on myself, but I was main event material, they just wouldn’t pay me and they would use me," he said. "In 1993, they gave me my notice. They didn’t have any more use for me. My drawing power was gone because nobody wants to see a loser all the time."

In recent years both of his legs had to be amputated as a result of diabetes, the Post reported.

Among those who paid tribute from the wrestling world were Hogan and Jerry Lawler, who Harris had credited with inventing his character.

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