Former WWF World Heavyweight Championship challenger Larry 'The Axe' Hennig has passed away. He was 82 years old.
Though talk of his death arose early on Thursday, it wasn't confirmed until PWInsider posted on the situation later on the day. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Best known for his work in the AWA, the Verne Gagne-trained Hennig formed a successful tag team with Harley Race, whom he met in the Texan territories. The duo became the youngest AWA World Tag Team Champions ever upon beating Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher in January 1965, striking up a notable feud with Gagne and various partners along the way.
Hennig suffered a severe knee injury while wrestling Johnny Powers in 1967. Refusing hospital treatment, he had Race drive him over 500 miles back to Minneapolis, and was ruled out for several months. 'The Axe' and Race would then go their separate ways the following year, with Hennig's career taking him through Florida, Minneapolis, and in and out of the AWA several times.
Widely regarded as one of the toughest men in wrestling, Hennig retired in 1985. His son Curt (AKA 'Mr. Perfect') had been born 27 years prior, and he is survived by current WWE Superstar Curtis Axel (one of Larry's 28 grandchildren).
Axel tweeted the following tribute yesterday:-
WhatCulture.com would like to send its condolences to Larry Hennig's family and friends.
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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A fan since 1992, still geeking out for everything from WeeLC to mid '80s Jim Crockett Promotions. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.