The Iron Sheik, a legendary competitor from the glory days of ’80s pro wrestling, has died, according to his social media accounts.
He was 81.
The WWE legend and pro wrestling Hall of Famer, a trash-talking longtime foil of Hulk Hogan, was born in Iran as Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri. He made headlines under his fighting name in the Reagan era.
During real-life rising tensions with Iran and Russia, the Iron Sheik was paired with Nikolai Volkoff in Cold War-era face-offs with American pros. In 1985, the pair took the WWF tag team title during the first Wrestlemania, defeating The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham).
In a statement on his social media about his passing, a message noted, “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.”
The post said outside of the ring, The Iron Sheik was a “devoted family man” who “cherished the love and support of his wife of 47 years, Caryl, who stood by his side through thick and thin.”
The message concluded, “We also take solace in knowing that he departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come.”
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