Wrestling Icon 'Ultimate Warrior' Dead at 54

James Brian Hellwig collapsed outside hotel

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 9, 2014 9:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Saturday, appeared at WrestleMania XXX on Sunday, and on Monday, he appeared on Monday Night Raw for the first time in years. Yesterday he died unexpectedly, at the age of 54. "Every man's heart one day beats its final beat," he had said during what would turn out to be his final appearance Monday. "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."

Warrior, who was born James Brian Hellwig but changed his name in 1993, started wrestling in 1987 and soon became an icon of the sport and one of its biggest stars, ESPN reports. He's being mourned by his colleagues, including "longtime nemesis" Hulk Hogan, the New York Post reports. "RIP WARRIOR. only love. HH," tweeted Hogan, whom the Warrior defeated at 1990's WrestleMania VI. The Warrior had been away from WWE for 18 years prior to this past weekend, during which he announced he had signed a deal to be an official ambassador for the company. His cause of death is not yet known, but TMZ reports that he was walking outside an Arizona hotel last night with his wife when he collapsed. He also leaves behind two daughters.

In this April 5, 2014 file photo, James Hellwig, aka Ultimate Warrior, is escorted by his daughters to the stage during the WWE Hall of Fame Induction.
In this April 5, 2014 file photo, James Hellwig, aka Ultimate Warrior, is escorted by his daughters to the stage during the WWE Hall of Fame Induction.   (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE, File)
The Ultimate Warrior speaks during the WWE Hall of Fame Induction at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, April 5, 2014.
The Ultimate Warrior speaks during the WWE Hall of Fame Induction at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, April 5, 2014.   (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)
Warrior talks about his career as the Ultimate Warrior, a playable WWE Legend, available exclusively by pre-ordering WWE 2K14, on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013 in Los Angeles.
Warrior talks about his career as the Ultimate Warrior, a playable WWE Legend, available exclusively by pre-ordering WWE 2K14, on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013 in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for 2K/AP Images)
In this Monday, April 7, 2014 photo, James Hellwig, better known as Ultimate Warrior, addresses the audience during WWE Monday Night Raw in New Orleans.
In this Monday, April 7, 2014 photo, James Hellwig, better known as Ultimate Warrior, addresses the audience during WWE Monday Night Raw in New Orleans.   (AP Photo/NOLA.com, David Grunfeld)
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