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Pro wrestling icon Ultimate Warrior dead at 54

James Hellwig, better known as WWE great the Ultimate Warrior.
James Hellwig, better known as WWE great the Ultimate Warrior. World Wrestling Entertainment

TORONTO – James Hellwig, better known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) character the Ultimate Warrior, died Tuesday. He was 54.

“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever,” reads a statement on the WWE website.

Hellwig’s death comes just after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and returned to the company after an 18-year hiatus.

“We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame,” WWE said. “WWE sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans.”

The cause of his death is unknown.

According to TMZ, Hellwig collapsed outside an Arizona hotel while walking to his car with his wife.

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Fans and fellow wrestlers took to Twitter to share condolences.

Hellwig began his WWE career in 1987 and rose to fame in the early ’90s. He was crowned WWE Champion after defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI in Toronto.

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Within the past week, Hellwig appeared at WrestleMania XXX and on Monday Night Raw, where he addressed his fans after his hall of fame induction.

“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own,” he said. “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat.”

“You, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior,” he told fans.

According to the WWE, Hellwig is survived by his wife Dana and two daughters.