SENATOBIA, Miss. -- Famed wrestler Kamala has been hospitalized after family members posted on social media he had emergency surgery this week.
WREG learned late Tuesday afternoon he has been taken off life support. His stepdaughter said he is not talking but is alert.
Kamala, whose real name is James Harris, is a double amputee.
He was well known in the 1980s and '90s for his antics in the ring. He is now a double amputee and has been battling diabetes that has contributed to his decline in health.
Kamala, known to some as the Ugandan Giant, ruled the ring in the 1980s and early 90s wearing face paint and a loin cloth.
He faced off against greats like the Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and body slammed Andre the Giant.
"He's just a legend, He's just a legend around these parts," said Larry Milton.
These parts are outside of Senatobia, Mississippi where Kamala, who today goes by James Harris, lives.
"It's a great experience to actually meet him in real life and actually be his neighbor," said his neighbor Larry Milton.
Milton, is now one of many in the area turning to faith after seeing the news their local hero has been hospitalized.
"Everybody's praying for him," he said.
Kamala's step daughter posted on Facebook he had emergency surgery, doctors initially didn't think he would make it out. At one point he was on life support with his friend Koko B Ware, another former wrestler, by his side.
But in her most recent post Tuesday afternoon she said he is off a ventilator. She told WREG he is alert but not speaking.
Another neighbor, Tray Davis, said he grew up watching Kamala.
"Every Saturday morning. I used to be afraid of him sometimes. He'd be walking down the street. Guys be wondering if that's the same dude in the paint," he said.
In 2012 WREG interviewed Kamala and learned the retired wrestler makes music too.
People WREG talked to said Kamala wasn't just influential in the wrestling world. He's also a big part of his north Mississippi community.
"Build tables and stuff for churches. He's a nice person. He just liked to give back to the community," said Davis.
Milton told WREG a man who said he is a friend of Kamala came by his house looking for him and even dropped off a picture of the two together.