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WWE Superstar The Iron Sheik Dead at 81
The Iron Sheik, an iconic name in WWE and wrestling in general, has died at age 81.
WWE Champion and Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, known for his many years as both an in-ring and manager personality in professional wrestling, has died at age 81.
On Tuesday morning, the Twitter account of the respected WWE Superstar, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, announced his passing without offering details as to his cause of death.
“Today, we gather with heavy hearts to bid farewell to a true legend, a force of nature, and an iconic figure who left an incredible mark on the world of professional wrestling. It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of The Iron Sheik,” the statement read. “But we also take solace in knowing that he departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come.”
Sheik got his start in Iran as a professional wrestler before coming to the United States and making a splash alongside Superstars such as Hulk Hogan in WWE throughout the 1980s. He is perhaps best known for his nationalistic rivalry with Sgt. Slaughter and for riling up the crowd by insulting the United States. Despite being a villain in the crowd’s eyes for much of his career, his in-ring prowess was unquestioned. Those who laid eyes on his suplex or his signature Camel Clutch maneuver knew he was a force to be reckoned with. According to WWE, he left the organization in 1988 but returned for a short stint in 1991 alongside Sgt. Slaughter. He became a manager known as The Sultan in 1997 before making his final appearance at WrestleMania X-Seven as The Iron Sheik for one night only, where he won a Gimmick Battle Royal.
In the statement announcing his passing, his personal life was also highlighted.
“Beyond the wrestling persona that the world knew so well, The Iron Sheik was a devoted family man,” it read. “He cherished the love and support of his wife of 47 years Caryl, who stood by his side through thick and thin, offering unwavering encouragement throughout his life. Their bond was an anchor, providing him with the strength to face the challenges that life presented.”
It continued: “To his children, Tanya, Nikki, Marissa and son in law Eddie, he was not just a wrestling icon. He was a loving and dedicated father. He instilled in them the values of perseverance, determination, and the importance of following their dreams. The Iron Sheik’s guidance and unwavering belief in their potential served as a driving force for his children, empowering them to become the best versions of themselves.”
Most recently, his career and his persona outside the ring was reenacted by actor Brett Azar in the NBC series Young Rock, where the real-life Superstar tells stories about his youth and upbringing, of which The Iron Sheik was a big part.