The wrestling world has lost a legend.
Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, better known to wrestling fans as The Iron Sheik, has passed away. He was 81 years old.
Sheik's official Twitter account revealed the news on Wednesday, writing:
Remembering The Iron Sheik
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, but we also take solace in knowing that he departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come.
Beyond the wrestling persona that the world knew so well, The Iron Sheik was a devoted family man. 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.
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.
The statement continues in the Tweet below.
"WWE is saddened to hear of the passing of WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, and extends its condolences to his family, friends, and fans," wrote WWE on Twitter.
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"The legendary and iconic pro wrestling bad guy the Iron Sheik has passed away at the age of 81. We send our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans of the world over and thank him for the many incredible memories he lives behind. R.I.P. Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri," wrote the Cauliflower Alley Club.
"Before he was nationally famous, the Iron Sheik was in Portland in 1978 teaming with Bull Ramos. Same act but, since the U.S. hostage crisis hadn't happened, he wasn't announced from Iran. I asked him about his time in Portland, just remembered the scenery," wrote Jim Valley.
Sheik was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2005, The NWA Hall of Fame Class of 2008, and The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2016. In 1980, he was voted Most Underrated in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
"So sorry to hear about the death of the Iron Sheik, one of the most memorable wrestlers of the last 50 years," wrote Dave Meltzer.
Sheik ended Bob Backlund's 1,470 reign with the WWF Championship when he defeated him for the belt in Madison Square Garden on December 26, 1983. He would only hold the title for 28 days before dropping it to Hulk Hogan on January 23, 1984 in the match that would truly kickstart Hulkamania in WWF.
The following year, Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff defeated Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham for the WWF Tag Team Championships at the first WrestleMania.
Sheik's life story was developed into the 2014 biography, The Sheik. The film was produced by The Magen Brothers, who served as Sheik's managers for many years. He was recently featured in an A&E Biography earlier this year as well.