Only a few short days after being inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame, James Hellwig, known as The Ultimate Warrior, died at the age of 54.
"WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior," WWE said in a statement. "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."
Hellwig's career began in 1985 and spanned until 1998. During those years, he became known for his long hair, muscular physique, and colorful face paint and masks. His induction into the hall of fame on Saturday ended an eighteen-year absence from the company.
On Monday, Hellwig addressed the sold out crowd during WWE Raw in New Orleans, in what would be his last public appearance. "No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own," he said after pulling out the mask he wore during his professional stint with the WWE, spurring a standing ovation from fans. "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."
Hellwig's death has shocked and saddened, not only the people of WWE, but his fans across the world as well. Many of them took to Twitter, and other social media sites, to voice their sympathy and condolences.
When I was in first grade, I was Ultimate Warrior for Halloween. I just watched his HOF speech two hours ago. I don't even have words.
— Corey Graves (@WWEGraves) April 9, 2014
Can't believe the ultimate warrior is gone. Had the honor to meet him this weekend
— Marc Harris WWE (@WWE_Ref_MarcH) April 9, 2014
— GOLDUST (@Goldust) April 9, 2014
Blown away by the news of Warrior's passing. My generation grew up on him & his career has a sentimental element that affected all of us.
— Curt Hawkins (@TheCurtHawkins) April 9, 2014
I'm really shocked and saddened to hear the passing of one of the my herosUltimate Warrior ... Rest in peace Ultimate Warrior...
— Yoshi Tatsu(@YoshiTatsuWWE) April 9, 2014
Hellwig is survived by his wife Dana and his two young daughters. His official cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Image via Twitter