Wrestling legend Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri – better known as The Iron Sheik – passed away on Wednesday at the age of 81.
The news was first announced on Sheik’s personal Twitter account in a note written by his family. In the note, his family says the icon passed away peacefully, leaving behind his wife Caryl, of whom he has been married for 47 years, his children Tanya, Nikki, Marissa and son-in-law Eddie, and five grandchildren.
“The Iron Sheikh (whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) transcended the realm of sports entertainment,” read a section of the family’s statement. “He captivated audiences around the world with his larger than life personality, incredible charisma and unparalleled in-ring skills. He was a pioneer who broke down barriers and paved the way for a multitude of wrestlers to follow in his footsteps.”
The Iron Sheik began his wrestling career in the early 1970’s and quickly established himself in the industry. Known for his offbeat ways, the Iron Sheik was one of the greatest heels of all time. His rivalry with Hulk Hogan in the 1980s became one of the greatest rivalries in wrestling history and subsequently catapulted Hogan to superstardom.
The Iron Sheikh is also the only Iranian Champion in WWE history and would later go beyond the world of wrestling by becoming an actor and well-known internet personality, gaining even more popularity on Twitter for his tweets denouncing various things.
ComingSoon extends its condolences to the Iron Sheikh’s friends and family at this difficult time.