Skip to main content

James 'Kamala' Harris passes away at age 70


James Harris, who is best known for his run in WWE and Memphis as Kamala, has passed away at the age of 70.

Jerry Lawler was among the first to report Kamala’s death. WWE has also confirmed the news. Harris had suffered a number of health issues in recent years, including having both legs amputated due to high blood pressure and diabetes.

ESPN reporter Jason King wrote that Kamala's wife said he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

"Spoke w/ Kamala’s wife," he wrote on Twitter. "He tested positive Wednesday for COVID which he likely contracted from one of his numerous weekly visits to the dialysis center. Was hospitalized Wednesday night & seemed fine & in good spirits this morning. Went into cardiac arrest & passed this afternoon."

Harris started wrestling in 1978 under the name “Sugar Bear” Harris. It wasn’t until his run in the Memphis territory in 1982 where he debuted the Kamala, the Ugandan Headhunter gimmick.

Kamala made appearances in WWE in 1984, then in 1986-87. It was here that Kim Chee was designated as his manager, and faced Hulk Hogan on multiple occasions for the WWE title.

After another stint in Memphis, he returned to the WWE in 1992 with Harvey Whippleman serving as his manager. After a feud with The Undertaker, he turned face, abandoning Whippleman and Kim Chee for Reverend Slick, who managed Kamala until he left the WWE towards the end of 1993.

Kamala would appear sporadically throughout the 90s and 2000s in WCW, Memphis, and later the WWE, with one of his final high-profile matches being a match against Umaga on a 2006 episode of Raw.