Wrestling Legend Iron Sheik Has Passed Away

in Entertainment, Sports

WWE Legend Iron Sheik poses in front of a yellow background

Credit: WWE

The professional wrestling world has lost one of its most vibrant characters today as the Iron Sheik has passed away at 81 years old.

Nikolai Volkoff, Classy Freddie Blassie, and the Iron Sheik WWE
Credit: WWE

Born in Iran as Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, the Iron Sheik was a Shia Muslim professional wrestler well-known for his bombastic personality and finishing move, the Camel Clutch. While he was an active professional wrestler from 1973-2010, he is most well-remembered for his stint in the 80s, where he won the WWF Championship while feuding with Hulk Hogan and the WWF Tag Team Championship alongside Nikolai Volkoff.

The Iron Sheik is often considered one of the best “foreign heel” characters of all time, meaning he was a bad guy who played up the fact that he was from another country. While this type of gimmick hasn’t aged well, the Sheik’s natural charisma and sheer likability made it work for decades, even prompting a resurgence in popularity on Twitter, where he would often call celebrities “jabronies” followed by a shocking amount of expletives.

Despite his love for playing the bad guy, millions worldwide loved the Iron Sheik. And this was proven today with the sheer amount of tributes to the WWE Hall of Famer.

The Iron Sheik Was “A True Legend” and “Icon”

WWE Legend Iron Sheik holding HUlk Hogan in the Camel Clutch
Credit: WWE

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The Iron Sheik’s death was announced on his Twitter account, run by his managers, Jian and Page Magen.

“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.”

The post 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 lives. His legacy will continue to live on in our hearts and minds of fans, as well as in the annals of wrestling history.”

WWE Legend Iron Sheik holding his arms in triumph
Credit: WWE

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In response, multiple wrestlers and celebrity fans have written tributes to him, including Mick Foley, Samoa Joe, Triple H, Macaulay Culkin, Ken Jeong, and the family of Rowdy Roddy Piper, often referring to Sheik as “a true icon,” “a wrestling and Twitter legend,” and “Sheiky baby.”

The official WWE Twitter account wrote a tribute to the legend, stating, “WWE is saddened to learn that Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, known the world over as WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik, passed away on Wednesday, June 7, at age 81. WWE extends its condolences to The Iron Sheik’s family, friends, and fans.”

A devoted family man, Vaziri is survived by his wife, two daughters, and five grandchildren, who referred to him as “Papa Sheik.”

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