WWE’s Ultimate Warrior dies at age 54

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(April 9, 2014) – Not long after being honored as one of wrestling’s all-time greats, the Ultimate Warrior died.

In a statement released Tuesday night, WWE said it was “shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever.”

TMZ reported that he collapsed outside an Arizona hotel Tuesday. The cause of his death has not been released.

The Warrior, 54, was born James Brian Hellwig in Crawfordsville, Ind., on June 16, 1959, and went to Indiana State University for a year before pursuing a career as a bodybuilder. His wrestling career began in 1987, when the WWE was still known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He legally changed his name to ‘Warrior’ in 1993.

The Ultimate Warrior saw a meteoric rise in popularity after his debut, winning over crowds with distinctive face paint, uncontrollable energy and athletic prowess. He defeated Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI in a memorable match to claim the championship.

On April 5, the Ultimate Warrior was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame. He also appeared on Monday Night Raw to address his fans.

He leaves behind his wife Dana and two daughters.

Here’s his appearance on RAW from April 7:

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