Just three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, iconic pro-wrestler Ultimate Warrior died on Tuesday.
He was 54. The cause of death is as-yet unknown.
Born James Hellwig, the performer legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993, and was a major star and money-making draw for both WWE and WCW during the 80s and 90s. His feuds with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are among the most memorable in pro-wrestling history.
In 2005, WWE released a DVD titled The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, which was extremely critical of the star and he was clearly hurt by the claims it made. However, in wrestling, you can never say never, and last year Warrior and WWE started to clear the air, with him appearing in their WWE 2K14 video game.
It was the beginning of a process that would result with him being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania 30, where he spoke about the pain the DVD caused him and his love for his family.
The night after WrestleMania, Warrior appeared on Raw for the first time since 1996 and gave the following speech, which today seems eerily prophetic:
“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper than something that is larger than life, than his essence, his spirit will be immortalised. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honour him and make the running the man did live forever.
You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend markers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. Ultimate. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!”
It’s always tragic when a wrestler passes away at such a young age, but this death is made all the more shocking due to its timing.
However, it is positive that Warrior appeared to have made peace with the people he had friction with over the years.
He is survived by his wife Dana, and his daughters Indiana and Mattigan.