(Fox Sports) - The man born James Brian Hellwig, who earned a global following as professional wrestler The Ultimate Warrior, died Tuesday night, World Wrestling Entertainment announced. Hellwig was 54.
TMZ reported that Hellwig — who officially changed his name to Warrior in 1993 — "collapsed outside an Arizona hotel at 5:50 PM on April 8th ... while walking to his car with his wife. Warrior was transported to a nearby hospital ... where he was pronounced dead."
Hellwig's death comes only three days after The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and just one day after Hellwig made an appearance on WWE's "Raw," his first appearance on the show since 1996. Eerily, Warrior, during an in-ring interview, seemed to predict his own passing. He told fans: "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 makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalised. "By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honour him and make the running the man did live forever."
Here is a clip from Hellwig's appearance:
According to WWE, The Ultimate Warrior was "one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever," joined the organization in 1987 and three years later was world champion, defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI at SkyDome in Toronto. The match, billed as the "Ultimate Challenge," lived up to the billing in the eyes of most, a common staple in lists of greatest wrestling matches of all time. Here's the legendary match: