Terry Funk, the the hardcore wrestling icon who set a new standard for brutality in entertainment, has died at the age of 79.

His death was confirmed by World Wrestling Entertainment on Wednesday. A cause of death was not given at this time.

Born on June 30, 1944, in Hammond, Indiana, his father, Dory Funk, Sr., was a professional wrestler, and the family relocated to Amarillo, Texas. Following in their father’s footsteps, Terry began wrestling in the Sixties as a tag-team with his brother Dory Funk, Jr., according to WWE.

Funk’s career lasted nearly 50 years as he performed in rings around the world. The tough Texan feuded with everyone from Ric Flair to Mick Foley, and his extreme fighting style in promotions like ECW and IWA Japan — where he’d compete in an infamous “King of the Death Match” tournament — gained him recognition as one of the most celebrated wrestlers of his generation.

He also left his mark in Hollywood, playing a bouncer in 1989’s Road House starring Patrick Swayze, and appearing in the 1978 wrestling drama film Paradise Alley with Sylvester Stallone.

Following the news of his death, fellow WWE champ Foley remembered the legend. “Terry Funk is gone. I just talked to Terry’s daughter, Brandee, who gave me the awful news. He was my mentor, my idol, one of the closest friends. He was the greatest wrestler I ever saw,” wrote Foley on X, formerly known as Twitter. “There will never be another like him. May God bless Terry, his friends, family and all who loved him. RIP my dear friend – it was an honor to know you.”


Flair, whose rivalry with Funk culminated in the now-famous “I Quit Match” at WCW Clash of the Champions IX in 1989, also shared a tribute to Funk, who he called a friend outside of the ring. “In My Entire Life, I’ve Never Met A Guy Who Worked Harder,” he said in an X post. “Terry Funk Was A Great Wrestler, Entertainer, Unbelievably Fearless, And A Great Friend! Rest In Peace My Friend Terry Funk Knowing That No One Will Ever Replace You In The World Of Professional Wrestling!”