Just three days after being inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame, legendary icon Ultimate Warrior has died. Born James Brian Hellwig, the former WWE world heavyweight champion legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. He is survived by his wife, Dana, and two daughters. Warrior was 54.
“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” read a statement from 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 sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans.”
It is no secret that Warrior had a contentious relationship with the WWE. He was once chosen to carry the torch passed by Hulk Hogan, but could never get over quite as much as company owner Vince McMahon had hoped. Following multiple lawsuits against each other, the WWE released a DVD chronicling what they called the self-destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. Having finally put aside their differences, Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this past Saturday night, less than 24 hours before Wrestlemania 30, where has also made an appearance.
Warrior was walked out by his two daughters, and it was clear that regardless of what people thought of him as a wrestler or person, he was much devoted to his family.
His final public appearance came on Monday Night Raw, just two days after his induction ceremony. His final speech almost appeared to foreshadow that the end may be near for Warrior, who lived hard during the height of his career.
“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own,” Warrior said on Raw. “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 bleed 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.”