SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Ultimate Warrior, one of the most colorful stars in pro wrestling history, has died, the WWE said. He was 54.
The WWE said Warrior, who legally changed his name from James Hellwig to his wrestling moniker, died Tuesday. Scottsdale, Ariz., police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark said he collapsed while walking with his wife to their car at a hotel and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
There were no signs of foul play, Clark said. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy Thursday, county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick said.
Hellwig was one of pro wrestling's biggest stars in the late 1980s. He beat Hulk Hogan in a memorable match at Wrestlemania in 1990.
He was in the spotlight again earlier this week, making appearances at the latest WrestleMania in New Orleans and on "Monday Night Raw," and being inducted into the WWE Hall of fame.
"WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior," WWE said in a statement, adding: "We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame."
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon tweeted: "We are all so sad the Ultimate Warrior has passed away. Our heart is with his wife Dana and his two daughters."
The Ultimate Warrior personified the larger-than-life cartoon characters who helped skyrocket the WWE into the mainstream in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Warrior dressed in face paint, had tassels dangling from his super-sized biceps and sprinted to the ring when his theme song hit. He'd shake the ropes and grunt and howl while the crowd went wild for the popular good guy.