WWE Hall of Famer and professional wrestling legend Iron Sheik has died at the age of 81, according to a statement posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday.
The statement calls Iron Sheik a “cultural phenomenon” and “pop culture icon” that transcends the world of professional wrestling:
Iron Sheik played a major role in WWE in the 1980s and early 1990s, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship respectively, before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri is an Iranian-American professional wrestler, amateur wrestler and actor, better known as Iron Chief. After winning the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1983, he is the only Iranian champion in WWE history.
The villainous persona reached his peak during the WWF wrestling boom of the 1980s, and his rivalry with Hulk Hogan made Hogan one of the biggest television heroes of the decade. He then formed a tag team with Nikolai Volkoff, who won the WWF Tag Team Championship at the inaugural WrestleMania. In 2005, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
An offshoot in the 1980s, Sheik was later featured on Kid Chriss, The Howard Stern Show, and the Internet for his set interviews, foul language, and some professional wrestlers who clearly disliked him, including Hulk Hogan and Bryan Blair’s very popular on the Internet.
Born in Damgan, Iran, in 1942, Khosrow grew up in a working-class family with little income and no running water. Although her passport says March 15, her birthday is September 9. As a youth, he idolized Iranian Olympic gold medalist Gholamreza Takhti, who made a name for himself as an amateur wrestler. He also served as a bodyguard for Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family for several years.