WWE star The Iron Sheik has died ‘peacefully’ aged 81
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WWE icon The Iron Sheik has died ‘peacefully’ aged 81.
The wrestler - real name Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri - was born in Iran in 1942 but moved to the US in the 70s and became a household name with the then World Wrestling Federation.
Fans were engrossed by his on-screen rivalry with Hulk Hogan, and he went on to become the heavyweight champion in 1983 - the first Iranian to do so.
And in 2005, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Sadly, however, his family confirmed in a post to Vaziri's official Twitter account that he had passed away.
It read: "Remembering the Iron Sheik.
"Today, we gather with heavy hearts to bid farewell to a true legend, a force of nature, and an iconic figure who left an incredible mark on the world of professional wrestling.
"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
"Beyond the wrestling persona that the world knew so well, The Iron Sheik was a devoted family man."
It went on: "He cherished the love and support of his wife of 47 years Caryl, who stood by his side through thick and thin, offering unwavering encouragement throughout his life. Their bond was an anchor, providing him with the strength to face the challenges that life presented.
"To his children, Tanya, Nikki, Marissa and son in law Eddie, he was not just a wrestling icon. He was a loving and dedicated father. He instilled in them the values of perseverance, determination, and the importance of following their dreams. The Iron Sheik's guidance and unwavering belief in their potential served as a driving force for his children, empowering them to become the best versions of themselves."
RESPECT THE LEGEND FOREVER 😢 pic.twitter.com/Cr6CC9pXSO— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) June 7, 2023
"The Iron Sheik's love also extended to his grandchildren, Marissa, Zahra, Alexis, Chloe and Niko who brought immeasurable joy into his life. As a doting Papa Sheik, he cherished every moment spent with them, creating memories that will forever be treasured. He shared his wisdom, humor, and zest for life with his grandchildren, leaving an incredible impression on their hearts."
Since news of his death was confirmed, fans of the WWE have come out to pay their respects and offer their condolences to his family.
"WWE is saddened to hear of the passing of WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, and extends its condolences to his family, friends, and fans," the official WWE account said.
WWE superstar Drew Gulak commented: "What a legend. Condolences to his friends and family. Any time I get to see or use Persian Meels for a workout, I think of the Iron Sheik.
"He was a great performer! Wrestlers should continue to study his body of work."
Wrestling expert, David Meltzer, added: "So sorry to hear about the death of the Iron Sheik, one of the most memorable wrestlers of the last 50 years."