Aug. 2 (UPI) -- WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race has died at the age of 76 following a battle with lung cancer.
WWE confirmed Race's death on Thursday.
Race famously held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship eight times throughout his career. The professional wrestler enjoyed feuds with other grappling legends such as Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Junkyard Dog, Giant Baba and Dory Funk Jr.
Race was the first NWA Champion to participate in title unification matches against WWE Champions 'Superstar' Billy Graham and Bob Backlund.
He joined WWE in 1986, eventually winning the King of the Ring tournament. Race then started referring to himself as 'King' Harley Race while wearing regal robes and a crown.
Race, who would say he was "the greatest wrestler on God's green earth," was inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame in 2004.
"Today we lost not only a great personal friend, but in my estimation the one and only REAL World Champion," Flair tweeted. "Without Harley Race, there was no Ric Flair. I tried my hardest every day to live up to his standard in the ring."