Wrestling icon the Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

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Wrestling icon the Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Apr 9, 2014

The iconic pro-wrestler known as the Ultimate Warrior has unexpectedly died at 54. Born James Hellwig, he legally changed his name to "Warrior" in 1993.

"We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans," wrote World Wrestling Entertainment in a statement. 

The WWE further notes, "Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter."

Watch above as Warrior gave a now eerie speech just days before his death while wearing a mask that resembled his former warpaint staple. “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat," he said. "His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, it makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized.”

Warrior retired from wrestling in 1998. He is survived by his wife Dana and two daughters.

No cause of death is confirmed at this time.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.