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TALLAHASSEE (NSF) – The Florida Senate on Friday held a moment of silence for Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., a professional wrestler better known as Dusty Rhodes and “The American Dream.”

Sen. Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican who proposed the moment of silence at the end of a brief floor session, said, “Dusty Rhodes was a working class hero who built his early career in Florida.”

Rhodes died Thursday after falling at his home in Orlando a day earlier, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He was 69.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, said her children got to meet Rhodes and described him as being “as gentle with them as he was as tough in the ring.”

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said he spent many Saturday afternoons growing up watching professional wrestling and called Rhodes an “icon of Florida.”

Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, called Rhodes a “legend” during brief comments on the House floor.

“His bleached blond hair, colorful ring attire and over-the-top microphone work made him a fan favorite,” Miller said.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


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