The Death of Kamala

Remembering Kamala: The Giant of the Wrestling World

In the world of professional wrestling, few names have left as indelible a mark as Kamala, the Ugandan Giant. Born James Harris on May 28, 1950, in Senatobia, Mississippi, Kamala’s journey from humble beginnings to international wrestling stardom was as captivating as his iconic tribal-masked persona. His unique character, larger-than-life presence, and contribution to the sport made him a true legend. However, the wrestling community was plunged into sorrow on August 9, 2020, as news broke of Kamala’s passing. This article serves as a tribute to the life, career, and legacy of the man who forever altered the landscape of professional wrestling.

Rise to Stardom

Kamala’s path to fame was unconventional, to say the least. He first stepped into the wrestling ring in the early 1970s, originally portrayed as “Sugar Bear” Harris. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that he adopted the persona that would become synonymous with his name – Kamala, the Ugandan Giant. Donning a tribal mask, body paint, and a loincloth, Kamala embraced the role of an African savage, a character that would later stir both acclaim and controversy.

Under the guidance of wrestling promoter Jerry Lawler, Kamala’s star began to rise in the 1980s. He became known for his brutal and unorthodox fighting style, often intimidating opponents with his primal behavior and imposing physique. His matches were marked by feats of strength and agility that belied his massive frame. Kamala’s rivalry with Lawler became legendary, cementing his place as a formidable contender in the wrestling world.

Trailblazing Legacy

Kamala’s character was a departure from the standard wrestling fare of his time, showcasing his ability to captivate audiences while navigating the delicate balance of cultural representation. He played a complex role – part monster heel, part sympathetic figure. Despite his terrifying persona, Kamala’s interactions with fans outside the ring were often warm and gentle, a testament to his dedication to his craft.

His feuds with wrestling icons such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and André the Giant further solidified his status as a mainstay in the wrestling scene. Kamala’s matches were not only athletic spectacles but also showcases of his character’s psychological depth. His battles with good versus evil captured the imaginations of fans worldwide.

Challenges and Triumphs

Behind the mask, Kamala faced a series of challenges that echoed the trials of his wrestling career. Diagnosed with diabetes, he lost both of his legs to the disease, a tragic turn that altered his life significantly. However, Kamala’s unyielding spirit led him to adapt and overcome. He became an advocate for diabetes awareness, sharing his story to inspire others facing similar struggles. His resilience in the face of adversity exemplified the strength that endeared him to fans and peers alike.

End of an Era

The wrestling world was rocked on August 9, 2020, when news spread of Kamala’s passing. He was 70 years old. The cause of death was reported as cardiac arrest. The loss reverberated throughout the wrestling community, with tributes pouring in from fellow wrestlers, fans, and industry insiders.

WWE, the premier wrestling organization, released a statement honoring Kamala’s legacy: “WWE is saddened to learn that James Harris, known to WWE fans as Kamala, has passed away at the age of 70. 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.”

Legacy and Impact

Kamala’s legacy transcends the squared circle. He opened doors for wrestlers who deviated from the traditional mold and showcased the power of storytelling within wrestling. His character’s complexity challenged stereotypes and sparked conversations about representation in the industry.

Beyond wrestling, Kamala’s contributions to diabetes awareness are a testament to his character and compassion. His willingness to share his struggles with the disease humanized him and brought attention to an important health issue.


Kamala’s life was a story of triumph over adversity, of breaking down barriers, and of leaving an indelible impact on the world of professional wrestling. His character, the Ugandan Giant, will forever be etched in the annals of wrestling history. From the humble beginnings of a young man in Mississippi to the international fame he achieved, Kamala’s journey was a testament to the power of determination, creativity, and the unbreakable bond between wrestlers and their fans. As the wrestling community continues to mourn his loss, they also celebrate the life and legacy of a true wrestling giant.

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