Wrestling legend, former NWA, WWF, and WCW champion, and WWE Hall of Famer, Harley Race passed away Thursday. At the age of 76, Harley was battling lung cancer.

His passing leaves a deep hole in the heart of every wrestling fan and wrestler in the world. A multi-time world champion in every major promotion he was in, Harley Race was a pioneer in the sport. Second only to Ric Flair in most people’s books of legitimate heavyweight title reigns, he was an 8-time NWA Champion at a time when that title was the most prestigious in the world.

Harley was known for his feuds with the likes of: Terry Funk, Dusty Rhodes, Dory Funk Jr., Junkyard Dog, and of course Ric Flair. Of course, he would be the first to don the “King” gimmick after winning ‘King of the Ring’ in WWF. He was so widely respected that even WWF recognized his NWA title reigns during a time when they were competing.

Race was an inspiration for wrestlers around the world including Triple H, Dolph Ziggler, and many more. His no-nonsense style in the ring transcended the era he wrestled in. He was the blueprint for the modern day champion in wrestling. His passing will be felt throughout the major promotions in wrestling. WWE will surely have a special tribute to the legend on their upcoming programming on Monday and Tuesday nights.