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  Fri, January 23, 1998

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Bobo Brazil dies at age 74

Bobo Brazil
 ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- Bobo Brazil, the pro wrestler famous for giving his opponents the "coco butt" by smashing his head into theirs, has died. He was 74.

 Brazil, whose real name was Houston Harris, was a star in the 1960s and '70s. He was named professional wrestler of the year from 1967-72. He lived in Benton Harbor.

 Brazil died Tuesday at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph. He had been in the hospital since Jan. 14 after suffering a series of strokes, companion Doris Rainey said.

 Brazil wrestled in many of the largest venues: New York's Madison Square Garden, the Boston Garden and Detroit's Cobo Arena.

 Wrestling fans watched him on television as he battled stars such as Dick The Bruiser, The Sheik, Killer Kowalski, Haystacks Calhoun and Johnny Valentine.

 Brazil was inducted into the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame in 1994.

 "He was sort of an idol because there were no black wrestlers around back then," the Rev. Donald Adkins told The Herald-Palladium this week. "Everybody loved him, especially the kids."

 Brazil was born in Little Rock, Ark., but grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., and Benton Harbor. He owned Bobo's Grill in Benton Harbor for more than 20 years and had six children.
 -- with files from Canoe wire services