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The Rock, Goldberg lead the tributes to Minnesota's Larry Hennig

The wrestling legend died at the age of 82.

News of Larry Hennig's death has prompted a flood of tributes from the pro-wrestling world.

The Robbinsdale native and University of Minnesota alum turned world-renowned pro-wrestler died this week at the age of 82. According to the WWE, he had a "long illness and kidney failure."

Known at various stages of his career as "Pretty Boy" and "The Axe," Hennig was trained by another Minnesota pro-wrestling legend, Verne Gagne, and went on to success in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF – which later became WWE).

He had five children, among them the late Curt Hennig, who was known as "Mr. Perfect" in WWE and WCW, and 28 grandchildren including current WWE star Curtis Axel (Curt's son).

Axel paid tribute to his grandfather after his death was announced, saying: "No one has had a bigger impact on my wrestling career than my Papa Axe. He has 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."

Axel's statement prompted an outpouring of tribute tweets from the great and the good in the pro-wrestling community, among them international superstars "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson, Bill Goldberg, and "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

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The WWE published a tribute article listing Hennig's achievements in American pro-wrestling, noting he was a 5-time tag team champion in the AWA, notably alongside Harley Race.

He was also among the challengers to WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden during Sammartino's 8-year reign as champion.

Other notable wrestlers (and David Arquette) expressed their condolences to Axel on Twitter.

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