Three days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame following an acrimonious 18-year split with the company, the legendary performer known as The Ultimate Warrior has died.
Warrior, one of pro wrestling's major stars during the '80s and '90s, died Tuesday evening at age 54.
According to witnesses, the iconic wrestler collapsed outside of a hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., while walking to his car with his wife.
Preliminary reports indicate that Warrior may have suffered a "catastrophic medical event" such as a massive heart attack. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
Warrior was born James Brian Hellwig, but legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. He began his famous run with WWE in 1987 and became one of the biggest stars in company history, upsetting Hulk Hogan for the then WWF world title in 1990 at Wrestlemania VI at the SkyDome in Toronto, Canada.
Warrior's relationship with the company had been strained until recently. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday night in New Orleans, attended Wrestlemania 30 the next evening at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, and made his first appearance on Raw in 18 years on Monday night.
He announced during his Hall of Fame speech that he had signed a multi-year deal with WWE to be an ambassador for the company.
"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," WWE posted on its website.
"Loss always has a way of reminding us to live and love as greatly as we can," Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson wrote on Twitter. "My prayers and strength to his family. RIP Ultimate Warrior."
"Your strength of character is to be admired. There will never be anyone like you. Your spirit lives on in your family," tweeted WWE executive Stephanie McMahon.
Warrior is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters.
Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @ByMike Mooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.
WWE PHOTO The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most enigmatic performers to ever hold the WWE world title.×
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