The Iron Sheik passes away at age 81

It was announced today that WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik has passed away at the age of 81.

The news came from his official social media accounts which wrote that although it is “with great sadness that they share the news, they also take solace in knowing that he departed this world peacefully, leaving behind a legacy that will endure for generations to come.”

Sheik, real name Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, was married and leaves behind his wife of 47 years, Caryl, children Tanya, Nikki, Marissa, and son-in-law Eddie.

No cause of death was announced.

While portraying a heel for most of his career, The Iron Sheik was a beloved member of the wrestling community and gained more following after he launched his Twitter account with his team. The hilarious tweets, often vulgar, were always written in caps.

Born in Iran, he was an assistant Olympic coach for Team USA in the 70s after he moved to the United States and was a National AAU champion gold medalist in 1971.

He started his wrestling career in 1972, working for the AWA and then briefly for the WWF in the late 70s. He joined the Jim Crocket Promotions where he got the name The Iron Sheik in 1980 and wrestled for Mid-South Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, and Georgia Championship Wrestling before returning to the WWF in 1983.

After he returned to the WWF, he challenged Bob Backlund for the title and won the title on December 26, 1983 in Madison Square Garden after Backlund’s manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel to end the match.

His reign as champion was short, and less than a month later, Sheik found himself wrestling Hulk Hogan at Madison Square Garden and on January 21, 1984, Hulkamania was born after Hogan pinned Sheik for the title. Sheik transitioned to tag team wrestling after that and began partnering with Nikolai Volkoff.

He left in 1987 after he and Jim Duggan were arrested when they were pulled over, with Duggan found under the influence of marijuana and Sheik on cocaine. He did return a year later but left a few months after he returned in February 1988.

Sheik also had a two-year stint with WCW before making his third return to the WWF in 1991, teaming up with Sgt Slaughter as Colonel Mustafa.

He made sporadic appearances for WWE in the years after that and last appeared on an episode of Raw in 2010.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and is a former World Heavyweight and Tag Team champion.

Colin Vassallo
Colin Vassallohttps://www.wrestling-online.com
Colin Vassallo has been editor of Wrestling-Online since 1996. He is born and raised in Malta, follows professional wrestling and MMA, loves to travel, and is a big Apple fan!

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