Legendary professional wrestler James Brian Hellwig, more popularly known as "The Ultimate Warrior," has died unexpectedly, according to a statement on the World Wrestling Entertainment website. He was 54.
News of The Ultimate Warrior's death comes a few days after he was inducted into the WWE Inc Hall of Fame. "WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior," said the wrestling entertainment company in a statement published on its website. The cause of death was not revealed.
Interestingly, Hellwig made an appearance at WWE Raw on April 7, after being added to the Hall of Fame on April 5. "Every man's heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath," he said.
After WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon announced the news on Twitter, several past and current wrestlers from the community paid emotional tributes to The Ultimate Warrior. An account dedicated to Wrestle Mania legend Undertaker wrote 'forever running through the hearts of many.'
We are all so sad that the Ultimate Warrior has passed away. Our heart is with his wife Dana and his two daughters.— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) April 9, 2014
RIP WARRIOR. only love. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) April 9, 2014
Hellwig kicked off his WWE career in 1989, and changed his name to Warrior in 1993. He was known for his striking face paint and rose to fame after defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to become the WWE Champion.