By DAN GOOD
The Ultimate Warrior, one of professional wrestling’s biggest superstars, has died at 54, just days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, WWE officials confirmed in a statement.
“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” a statement reads.
Warrior – who was born James Brian Hellwig – began his career in 1987. He defeated Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to become WWE Champion.
Saturday's Hall of Fame induction marked his return to WWE after an 18-year absence. During his Hall of Fame speech, he announced that he signed a new multi-year deal with WWE, serving as an official ambassador.
The wrestler was known for his intricate face-paint, bulging muscles and frenzied speeches, sprinting to the ring and violently shaking the ropes before his matches.
During Monday's episode of WWE Raw, he slipped on his mask, embracing his character a final time, his words full of heart and poignancy.
"No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own," he said. "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.
You, you, you, you, you," he said, pointing to the fans, "are the legend-makers of Ultimate Warrior."
The wrestler is survived by his wife Dana and two daughters.
News of his death was met with sadness and shock online.