Ray Candy Death – Heart Attack
1951-1994 (Age 42)
Standing 6’4”, Ray Candy had the size promoters looked for in wrestlers and enjoyed success in the territories during the 1970s and 1980s.
Born Ray Canty on December 3, 1951, Canty only wrestled for two decades but made an impact as both a babyface and a heel.
After retiring from the ring, Candy helped train future stars Kane (aka Glen Jacobs) and New Jack.
Training with a World Champion
Breaking into the wrestling business can be difficult, especially if a prospective grappler can’t find a good instructor. However, that wasn’t the problem for Candy as he trained under former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Dory Funk Jr., a man who continues to train tomorrow’s future stars.
After training with Funk, Candy debuted in 1971, later working alongside him in Funk’s NWA Western State Sports territory. The big man worked a variety of NWA territories and also toured All Japan Pro Wrestling several times, including a run alongside Abdullah the Butcher as the NWA International Tag Team Champions.
The Zambuie Express
Until recently, professional wrestling promoters never hesitated to use racially-charged angles to boost ticket sales. In 1983, Championship Wrestling from Florida introduced a tag team known as the Zambuie Express. Ray Candy became Kareem Muhammad while partner Leroy Brown became Elijah Akeem, with promoters portraying them as radical Black Muslims who ran roughshod on the area’s babyfaces.
The Express had a brutal feud with Blackjack Mulligan and Dusty Rhodes in Florida, establishing themselves as one of the area’s top heel teams. The team enjoyed success in Florida, Memphis, Japan, and the Carolinas as they were portrayed as two rough and tumble brawlers who did whatever was necessary to win.
Ray Candy Death
As the years progressed, Candy put on more and more weight, at one point topping the scales around 400 pounds. He retired in 1990 and reportedly became a dispatcher for a trucking company.
Ray Candy died on May 23, 1994. The June 6, 1994 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports the wrestler died from an apparent heart attack. He was 42.
Ray Candy is buried at the Washington Memorial Gardens in Decatur, Georgia.
What are your favorite memories of Ray Candy? Let us know in the comments below.