Iron Sheik dead: WWE Hall of Famer and professional wrestling legend dies aged 81

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Former professional wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, known as The Iron Sheik, has died aged 81.

The death of the pro wrestling legend was announced on his Twitter account today (June 7). A statement which announced the death said: “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.”

“The Iron Sheik was a beloved figure who was known for his humour, his larger-than-life personality, and his ability to connect with fans on a personal level,” the Twitter announcement continued. “As we bid farewell to The Iron Sheik, let us remember him not only for his athletic prowess but also for the joy and inspiration he brought into our loves. His legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of fans, as well as in the annals of wrestling history.”

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The Iron Sheik rose to wrestling fame in the U.S. in the late 1970s, working for various promotions including Jim Crockett Promotions, Mid-South Wrestling, and Georgia Championship Wrestling. By the early 1980’s, he found his biggest success wrestling in WWE, then known as World Wrestling Federation.

In 1983, The Iron Sheik defeated Bob Backlund to become WWF Champion, before losing the belt to Hulk Hogan, which is credited by many as the beginning of the Hulkamania phenomenon. He is also well known for forming a tag team with fellow wrestling legend Nikolai Volkoff and feuding with Sgt. Slaughter.

Wrestling legend The Iron Sheik has died Wrestling legend The Iron Sheik has died
Wrestling legend The Iron Sheik has died | Getty Images

The Iron Sheik was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He is survived by his wife Caryl, his three children, Tanya, Nikki and Marissa, his son-in-law Eddie, and his grandchildren, Marissa, Xahra, Alexis, Chloe and Niko.

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