News

Former WWE star The Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

Former WWE star The Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

ULTIMATE WARRIOR:he Ultimate Warrior speaks during the WWE Hall of Fame Induction at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, April 5. Photo: Associated Press/Jonathan Bachman

(Reuters) – The Ultimate Warrior, one of U.S. professional wrestling’s most celebrated names, has died at the age of 54, days after being inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc Hall of Fame, the company said late on Tuesday.

“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said on its website.

The Ultimate Warrior, whose given name was James Hellwig, began his WWE career in 1987 and rose to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history, the company said, highlighting an “epic encounter” in which he defeated Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to become a WWE Champion.

The cause of his death was not given. He was added to the Hall of Fame on April 5.

PHOTOS: 2014 Notable Deaths

“We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans,” World Wrestling Entertainment said.

The 6-foot, 2-inch tall, 280-pound wrestler commanded the ring in his signature neon garb and long, blond hair, and face paint, WWE said.

His family could not immediately be reached, and an email sent through his website was not immediately answered.

In a statement on his website peppered with sarcasm, Hellwig expounded on philosophy and funneling energy from the ring into writing, motivational speaking, and his family life after retiring in the late 1990s.

“Ultimate Warrior ran because I was running him. He was intense because I already was. Whatever I am doing – wrestling, writing, working out, speaking, even weaving pot holders – I am going to do it with action and intensity,” Hellwig wrote.

“I have built an incredibly empowered life on my OWN terms. As a devoted husband and father, I could not have custom-ordered a more loving, healthy, spirit-filled, and happy home life,” he wrote.

Fans, supporters and wrestlers took to the internet to express their respect for the wrestler, who is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters, WWE said.

“Shocked and very saddened to hear about Ultimate Warrior passing. Prayers go out to his family! RIP. Loss for words,” wrestler Curtis wrote in a Twitter message.

“RIP WARRIOR. only love. HH,” Hulk Hogan tweeted.

“Tomorrow is promised to know one!!” fellow Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper tweeted. “My love to The Warrior and family.

RIP.”

“Icon and friend,” WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H wrote in a Twitter message.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Latest Stories

in Music

CHART TOPPERS: This week’s top rock tracks

godsmack

LISTEN: This week's top rock tracks, according to the latest Billboard charts.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

little

A look at the biggest stories and best photography in sports this week.

in Entertainment

WATCH: 10 best ‘Simpsons’ episodes

In this photo released by Fox, Homer explains why he wants to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display, after it's cancelled for budget reasons, in the "Yellow Badge of Cowardge" Season Finale episode of "The Simpsons," in May 2014. The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be paired this fall with a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy. "I'm not going to over-promise, but I think this website will provide you with affordable health care," longtime "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told a TV critics' meeting Monday, July 21, 2014.

The recent marathon of all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons" inspired us to sit down and come up with our 10 favorite episodes. Enjoy!