WWE wrestler The Ultimate Warrior has died at the age of 54 after collapsing in front of his hotel room, with The Rock, Triple H, Hulk Hogan and more paying tribute.
The wrestling legend, who legally changed his name from James Brian Hellwig to his ring name in 1993, died just hours after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at Sunday's WrestleMania 30 and gave an impassioned speech on Monday Night RAW.
Warrior was walking from his Arizona hotel room to his car with his wife just before 6pm on Tuesday when he suddenly fell to the ground, TMZ reports, and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
"WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior," the company wrote on its website, as tributes flooded in from fans and fellow wrestlers.
"Loss always has a way of reminding us to live and love as greatly as we can. My prayers and strength to his family. RIP Ultimate Warrior," tweeted The Rock.
"Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters," added WWE COO Triple H, with Hulk Hogan, whom Ultimate Warrior worked with for so many years, writing simply: "RIP WARRIOR. Only love."
The sad news makes the speech Warrior delivered on RAW all the more haunting, in which he spoke of hearts "beating their final beat''.
He said in a dispatch from the ring:
"No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. 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 what makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, 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, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am The Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever."
The manic faces of The Ultimate Warrior
Loss always has a way of reminding us to live and love as greatly as we can. My prayers and strength to his family. RIP Ultimate Warrior.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 9, 2014
Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters— Triple H (@TripleH) April 9, 2014
Warrior was inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Jake 'The Snake' Roberts on Saturday night, who is himself battling cancer.
Further tributes came in from Stephanie McMahon, who tweeted: "#RIPUltimateWarrior Your strength of character is to be admired. There will never be anyone like you. Your spirit lives on in your family." and former commentator Jim Ross, who wrote: "Sad to pass along the news that the Ultimate Warrior has died. Condolences to his wife & two, young daughters. RIP Warrior."
The wrestler appeared happy and well just hours before his collapse, stopping for photos with fans at New Orleans airport.
Ultimate Warrior played a key part in the then WWF's boom in the early 90s, and after falling out with the promotion over lawsuits, a legal name change and a defamatory DVD, made peace with it in recent years agreeing to make occasional TV appearances.Reuse content