James Harris, known to WWE fans as Kamala, has passed away at age 70. Under the frightening face paint of Kamala, the 6-foot-7, 380-pound Harris battled big stars of pro-wrestling including the Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Andre the Giant in the early 1980s.
He terrorized opponents and thrilled audiences in Mid-South, World Class Championship Wrestling, WCW and WWE until 2006. Harris had made his debut in World Wrestling Federation in July 1984 managed by the iconic Freddie Blassie and went on to challenge Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship the same year after a series of victories since his debut, including Chief Jay Strongbow.
Harris captured the imagination of the pro-wrestling fans with his unique and terrifying ring look portraying a Ugandan warrior who wrestled barefoot in war paint and a loincloth and approached the ring wearing an African mask and carrying a spear and shield.
He performed alongside Andre the Giant before leaving the company the same year. After a two-year hiatus, working with various promotions in the United States and Canada, Harris returned to WWF and once again starred in feuds with Hogan. He formed a tag team with Wild Samoan Sika. In this third time with the company, he challenged Randy Savage, unsuccessfully, for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship before getting into high-profile feuds like Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and the Ultimate Warrior.
In November 1992, Kamala lost to The Undertaker at Survivor Series in the first-ever televised casket match. Post-retirement, Harris continued to make sporadic appearances in WWE. in 2011, Harris had his left leg amputated below the knee due to complications of high blood pressure and diabetes and launched a campaign seeking donations to cover his medical needs.
In 2017, Harris underwent emergency surgery and was put on life support due to complications.