Days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior has died at the age of 54.
“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” the company confirmed in a statement. A cause of death has not been released.
Warrior’s legend within the wrestling community was cemented on Saturday, when the WWE honored him with a place in its Hall of Fame. After an 18-year break from the organization, Warrior returned to the fold at the ceremony in New Orleans, where fans and colleagues celebrated his long career.
He began wrestling with WWE in 1987, and became one of its most popular stars thanks to his seemingly endless energy, which included wildly shaking the ropes to psych himself up. Warrior was named WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, after defeating Hulk Hogan.
“We are grateful just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans,” WWE said. “WWE sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans.”
In his final TV appearance on Monday night, Warrior gave a speech that turned out to be a chilling farewell: “No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath…his essence, his spirit will be immortalized by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make what the man did live forever.” Here’s a clip:
Born James Brian Hellwig, the wrestling star legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. He is survived by his wife Dana and two daughters.