Former WWF/WWE star, The Ultimate Warrior, has died. Born James Brian Hellwig, the wrestling icon reportedly collapsed at a hotel in Arizona around 6:00pm yesterday (April 8th). He was walking to his car with his wife when he fell to the ground suddenly and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital. Upon arrival, the 54-year-old was pronounced dead.
Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. From 1987 to 1992, he was one of the most popular stars of the WWF, wrestling and winning the championship belt from fellow superstar Hulk Hogan in 1990. His unexpected death comes just three days after the wrestler was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
He had just made an appearance on WWE “Raw” the day before his death. Warrior was involved in a series of lawsuits against the WWE, which had declared that it owns the characters, Warrior and Ultimate Warrior, under both contract and copyright law. A court ruled that Warrior was legally entitled to use the image and name of the Ultimate Warrior. He also filed suit against the WWE in 2006 over the depiction of his wrestling career in a DVD called The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. Also, beginning in the late 1990s, Warrior had become a conservative talk show host and motivational speaker.
World Wrestling Entertainment announced Warrior’s death via Twitter.
“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” the tweets read. “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 sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans.”
“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own,” Warrior told the crowd during his appearance on WWE “Raw” this week. “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 believe deeper in something that’s larger than life; then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers — by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him, and make the running the man did live forever.”
“I am the Ultimate Warrior, you are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever.”