Larry "The Axe" Hennig, wrestling legend and father of "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, died at the age of 82 on Thursday. According to a report from WWE.com, the cause of death was a longtime battle with illness and kidney failure.
Born in Minneapolis, Hennig was trained by wrestling legend Verne Gagne and began wrestling in the early 1960s for the American Wrestling Association (AWA).
Hennig spent the bulk of his career as a tag team specialist, teaming with "Handsome" Harley Race to claim to AWA World Tag Team Championships on three separate occasions. His in-ring career lasted up until 1986.
Henning's in-ring involvement with WWWF was short-lived, but he did get to challenge Bruno Sammartino a number of times for the WWWF Champion during one of the Hall of Famer's legendary reigns with the title.
Hennig's son, Curt Hennig, followed in his father's footsteps by joining the AWA in 1980. He went on to have multiple stints in the WWF and a three-year run in WCW before his tragic passing at the age of 44 in 2003. Hennig is also the grandfather of current WWE Superstar Curtis Axel, whose name is a combination of his father's and grandfather's.
Axel released a statement on Hennig's passing on Thursday afternoon.
On behalf of the whole Hennig Family, thank you for your thoughts and prayers! pic.twitter.com/fi5uqWvB5i— Curtis Axel (@RealCurtisAxel) December 6, 2018
"82 years old. 5 kids. 28 grandkis. No one has had a bigger impact on my wrestling career then my Papa Axe. He's been my biggest supporter since day one! Another father when I lost mine. We lost our King of the Jungle today... Never thought I'd see this day. But he's with my Dad now so everything will be ok. Love you Papa Axe! The Hennig's have always held our heads up high! We will continue to do so.... You rest assured, The Hennig name will live on FOREVER!!!"
Numerous fans and fellow wrestlers offered their condolences shortly after the news broke.0comments
"I heard so many great Larry 'The Axe' Henning stories while travelling with Curt I could write a book," Sean "X-Pac" Waltman tweeted. "I also have a few great memories of my own. No one looked up to their father more than Mr Perfect did The Axe! #RIPLarryHennig"
The wrestling world is saddened on the passing of Larry “The Axe” Henning.December 6, 2018
"The wrestling world is saddened on the passing of Larry 'The Axe" Hennig," the National Wrestling Alliance wrote on its official Twitter account.