WWE Legend the Ultimate Warrior Dead at 54

In a shock to WWE fans, James Hellwig, better known as the Ultimate Warrior, died just a day after making a rare return to the ring. He was 54.

Hellwig’s death on Tuesday evening was unexpected, considering he had just appeared on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” on April 7, and was inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame two days earlier on April 5, in New Orleans. “WrestleMania 30,” during which he also made an appearance, took place April 6, from inside New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Hellwig legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993.

The cause of Warrior’s death has not yet been disclosed, although Warrior was pronounced dead at an Arizona hospital after collapsing outside a hotel on Tuesday.

Warrior’s final public appearance on TV Monday night (watch above) would prove a chilling farewell as he said, “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 … his essence, his spirit will be immortalized by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make what the man did live forever,” before thanking the crowd in attendance, his fans.

News of his death was first announced by Paul Levesque, WWE’s executive VP, talent, live events and creative, and otherwise known as professional wrestler Triple H.

The professional wrestler, who was one of WWE’s biggest icons and left the company when it was still known as WWF three times — in 1991, 1992 and 1996 — had recently signed a three-year contract to be an ambassador for the company. The Warrior character was known for his signature face paint, colorful tassels tied around his arms and boots and penchant for shouting and running into the ring where he wildly shook the top ropes of the wrestling ring.

“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 said in a statement Tuesday night. “Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter. 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. Warrior was 54 and is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters.”

During the Hall of Fame ceremony, Warrior thanked WWE chairman Vince McMahon for “giving me the opportunity to use my creativity.”

While Warrior had a reputation for being difficult to work with, former WWE exec Linda McMahon praised his character and work ethic while inducting him at the Hall of Fame.

Warrior also stressed that he “was a good guy. I am a good guy,” during his acceptance speech, and professed his love of the wrestling industry, adding, “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the business. The work was magic. It’s awesome to be bigger than life, to go out and be a character that people believe in.”

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  1. big daddy D says:

    I’d like to hear the autopsy report. And yeah..steroids are a monster. Superstar Billy Graham ring a bell?

  2. A simple search would be …..in the united states of AMERICA that you can belive in, practice ,teach ,preach and be law abidding all you want .that doesnt make you a bad person! freedom of expression is allowable.and belife of your o wn opinion , again your idiolgy is baisless .

    • big daddy D says:

      Ummm..horrible grammar aside….let’s go through a few things about Mr. Hellwig..mind you..these are MY personal opinions. Freedom of expression is allowable. .but it doesn’t give you the right to be an ASSHAT!!
      He wasn’t an idiot. .he just did idiotic things.
      A) he did steroids. Too much…who can say
      B) by all accounts, he was not fun to work with/around..of course now..no one will speak ill of the dead. Ask Sting his opinion of how he was to work with when they were the Blade Runners.
      C) there’s taped evidence of Hellwig..post wrestling..being homophobic/misogynistic..and I wasn’t a fan of his right wing political beliefs.
      D) then there’s the claims he made about Hulk Hogan and his then wife Linda and their personal lifestyle. There was no love lost between them for sure
      E) I believe he suffered from a personality disorder. Hell, the man legally changed his name to Warrior! At what point did James depart and Warrior take over? Listen to his speech on monday night..was he in character, or…..
      Look..I’ve been a wrestling fan since 81/82..back in the AWA days. I watched NWA-WCW WWF-WWE ECW and all the regional wrestling associations back in the day. I honor the man, but Warrior/James Hellwig was a flawed man..and a HORRIBLE wrestler! He didn’t know a half Nelson from a ham sandwich..relied on a few power moves..worse performer than Hogan..and he was pretty gawd awful himself.

      That’s just my .02. I welcome any other opinions.

      • big daddy D says:

        @Dazzo1975..like I said..I honor the man…flawed though he was

      • Dazzo1975 says:

        Freedom of speech is a gift we are given and I’d never seek to deprive anybody of their right to speak openly and passionately. However, this is for all intents and purposes a eulogy site. I don’t dispute anything you’ve said but it lacks class saying that sort of thing before the body is even cold. Respect should be shown. If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing.

  3. Olde Wyzard says:

    You will be missed..you are in the big ring in the sky…R.I.P.

  4. I suppose variety didnt like my comments when i said “who made “baisless”baylis god ,alla. To judge someone! if u belive your statements are true,MR. BAISLESS ,then prove it !

    • big daddy D says:

      Actually, Justin, Warrior DID/HAS made comments similar to what mr. Baylis has claimed. All you need to do is a simple search. Regardless..RIP Mr. Hellwig

  5. TheMauler says:

    No matter what his past was the fact is he gave all he had to the sport he loved so very much and he gave all of himself to his family and fans world wide. For myself i am saddened and heartbroken for his girls and wife may he rest in peace…

  6. Too bad Warrior died,but his racist,homophobic,misogynistic,etc.,right-wing pea brain DIED 20 YEARS AGO!!!!!(Dude was from Indiana,the North’s biggest KKK state until the 60’s.)

    • rob says:

      Just curious what facts and information YOU personally have to make the statement about Indiana being the north’s supposed biggest kkk state. FYI get facts before you spit bile you ignorant waste of oxygen hope that is being sensitive enough for you. I wouldn’t want you to misread or mislable me like you apparently do to others you intolerant asshat.

    • rob says:

      Seriously I have seen no proof anywhere online or otherwise justifying his comments about Indiana being this supposed huge kkk bastion at any point in history. You are both entitled to your opinion warrior has said some unpopular things through out the years but who hasn’t. I may not agree with everything he said but I don’t spew the ignorant amount of hate about someone that brad has especially right after someone has died. It takes a real big man in his case to knock on the dead while a person’s family and friends are still grieving. Here’s an idea for both brad and big daddy google Fred Phelps read his history and save your hate filled rantings for someone like him who really deserves it. FYI he recently died to so it will go e you a chance to troll someone else’s boards.

      • big daddy D says:

        I know all about Fred Phelps and his “church”..another blight on humanity. And regarding Warrior…I grew up as a WWF fan..but as I got older..I heard about some of the DUMBASS things he said about the company/Hogan/homosexuality and his right-wing views. Made me shake my head. Still a fan..always will be..but with a ROCK sized raised eyebrow. Hmmmm…..

  7. lynn says:

    Rip to a great wrestler you will be missed and never fir gitten

  8. J.T. says:

    Even a day later I am still in shock about the passing of my all time favorite wrestler. I cant believe I watched him give one of the most heartfelt induction speeches at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Then two days later to finally see him inside the ring on RAW for the first time was a boy hood dream come true. How did he die less than a day later? Something doesnt seem right. RIP to the greatest in ring performer of all time.

  9. RIP Ultimate Warrior you will be.missed by all your fans and friends. My condols to your wife and girls God Bless

  10. St .lanrey says:

    R.I.P THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR…………………………….

  11. Debbie B says:

    So saddened for the sudden death of The Ultimate Warrior, you are a true legend, RIP

  12. I bought the warrior dvd set this weekend and loved it !!!it brang me back to being a kid again and watching warrior this weekend at induction cerimony really touched me,and my wifes heart! we’ll MISS YOU!

  13. R.I.P Warrior such sad news. I hope it is not down to steroid or other drug use, so many athletes have been lost for that reason! Natural, high protein snacks are healthy alternatives and give similar results #eatclean

  14. ibrahim ezra says:

    with deu respect, on the behave of my family,we condol the wife of late James hellwig(ultimate warrior) and her daughters.am one of wwe fans from Lagos Nigeria. I love wrestling far better than any other games in my life but, am not opportune to come to USA for that purpose. I love you all but God love you best.God bless USA and bless my Nigeria too.

  15. rob says:

    Hey Wyatt just curious where u got your medical degree and since when you were selected to be the attending coroner for James Hellwig. A man just died and his family is grieving and all your ignorant ass can do is slander the guy with NO valid proof. Do the world a favor and shut the hell up and not pass judgement on someone when I’m willing to bet you are far from perfect yourself!

  16. When I saw him at Wrestlemania 30 I said to myself. “Warrior looks ill, I wonder how much longer he will live” He had a body to die for and I think he died for his body. One can only imagine what he had to go through to build such a magnificent physique at such a young age. Those who wrestle as these guys do live ten physical lives to everyone else’s one physical life in terms of energy useage. They risk facing a life after performing of mental stress and physical pain or living with a body damaged by severe over-use compare to the rest of us. I am 70 and I look half his age. But then, I would not qualify for Warrior status. RIP and thanks for the memories Warrior. Condolensces to family and friends.

    • Wyatt Lines says:

      It would have been shorter to just type “steroids and cocaine.”

      Or maybe his middle-aged heart stopped suddenly from the rocket-fueled unstoppability that shattered the skies and unleashed the power of the Warrrrrrriorrrrr.

  17. sarshjane craig says:

    So sad to hear of the passing he was a real icon

  18. Claire says:

    R.I.P Ultimate Warrior,u will be sadly missed. Thoughts+prayers to your wife Dana and daughters. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  19. Reblogged this on Mumbai Punter and commented:
    R.I.P James Hellwig a.k.a The Ultimate Warrior

  20. James Pennington says:

    This guy was an icon when i was a kid in the 80’s watching WWF wrestling. We lost Andre the Giant, RandY Savage, and now the Ultimate Warrior. I used to help set up as a teenager when the wrestled in Sacramento. I got the chance to meet a lot of those guys, most were pretty cool and in it for the fans. They might talk smack in the ring to each other but after they were out having beers together and B.S.ing. It makes you feel old when your heroes start dying off. I wish his loved ones all the best in this toughest of times. J..P.

  21. JAMES L mOORE says:

    Ultimate Warrior a great Wrestling Icon you will sorely be missed Rest in Peace Brother we all love you

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