The Ultimate Warrior, one of the most charismatic and popular professional wrestlers ever, has died at the age of 54.
World Wrestling Entertainment announced the death of Warrior, born James Brian Hellwig, in a statement on its website late Tuesday. “WWE is shocked and greatly saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever,” the statement began.
No information about a possible cause of death was immediately available. News of Warrior’s death came approximately 24 hours after he appeared on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” show and days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during Wrestlemania festivities in New Orleans.
Born in Crawfordsville, Ind. in 1959, Warrior began his career at what was then called the World Wrestling Federation in 1987. He became the franchise’s champion wrestler in 1990, when he defeated Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania. In 1993, he legally changed his name to The Ultimate Warrior.
Warrior retired from the ring in 1998 after briefly working for WWE’s rival, World Championship Wrestling, but returned for a final match in 2008. He is survived by his wife, Dana and two daughters.