Santo Domingo.- Former wrestling athlete, Rafael Sánchez (Jack Veneno), died early this Tuesday after health complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 78 years old.

The information was confirmed by her daughter, Paola Sánchez, on her Instagram account.

For more than four decades, Jack Veneno was the “El campeón de la bolita del mundo” for all Dominicans, but the man who gave wrestling in the Dominican Republic his first and last name lost the battle against cancer on Tuesday.

Jack Veneno was admitted to an emergency this Friday afternoon at a medical center in Santo Domingo.

This legend of the ring, who has been fighting cancer for years, suffered a relapse and is receiving care at the Cruz Jiminián Clinic.

According to his son, his hospitalization is due to suffering from severe anemia.

Earlier this year, the wrestling star underwent surgery to change a piece of the liver drain.

Likewise, at that time, the director of the National Health Service (SNS), Mario Lama, announced that this entity was committed, in collaboration with the Rosa Emilia Sánchez National Institute (Incart), to undertake the treatment of pancreatic cancer that is currently suffering the “champion of the little ball of the world”.

While in mid-August last year, this icon of Dominican wrestling was hospitalized at the Royal Medical Center after suffering severe pain in the belly and high blood sugar, where he was later diagnosed with uncontrolled diabetes.

Along with José Manuel Guzmán “Relámpago Hernández”, he captivated the Dominican public on the billboards that Eugenio María de Hostos celebrated in the park, as the hero of the Dominicans before the rough block of Relámpago.

Jack Veneno Died
Jack Veneno / Photo

In the 80s and 90s, Jack Veneno was an idol for the Dominicans.

The peak of his career came on January 7, 1982, at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, before more than 14 thousand people, the long-awaited fight against Ric Flair was celebrated.

That same year Jack Veneno defeats the famous American fighter Tommy Rich at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico, in order to become the number one challenger to the title held by Flair again.

On August 29 of the same year Jack Veneno gets his revenge and the fight is held again in the country, this time Flair was accompanied in his corner by the famous American fighter Roddy Piper, in the final moments of the fight while Ric Flair prepared to apply a suplex to Jack Veneno the latter surprises him with a roll-up and thus win the fight and become the new NWA champion.

After the fight with Flair, Jack Veneno became an icon of popular culture throughout the 1980s, including a television program that was recorded on Thursdays at the Color Vision amphitheater and aired on Saturdays (first at 6 pm and then at noon).

The television show remained on the air until the mid-1990s when it ceased operations.

Veneno subsequently ventured into politics, running for mayor of the National District in the 2006 elections, and was vice minister of Sports in the Leonel Fernández government since 2007.

One of the most beloved figures of the Dominican people says goodbye, but the “El campeón de la bolita del mundo” will never be forgotten.

Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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