The Iron Sheik, wrestling legend and Hulk Hogan's rival, dead at 81

The Iron Sheik, wrestling legend and Hulk Hogan's rival, dead at 81
The Iron Sheik attends the ESPY's Celebration Of Champions Athlete Kickoff.John Shearer/WireImage via Getty Images
  • Legendary wrestler The Iron Sheik has died, aged 81.
  • Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri's death was announced on the wrestler's Twitter page.

Wrestling legend The Iron Sheik, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, has died at 81, according to a statement shared on his Twitter page.

"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 statement said.

"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 statement added.

It remains unclear when exactly he died, and the cause of death is unknown.

The Hall-of-Fame, Iranian-born wrestler was a longtime heel and star in the World Wrestling Federation, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment.


He was known as a rival of iconic wrestler Hulk Hogan.

But after losing a championship to Hulk Hogan, he engaged in a rivalry with Sgt. Slaughter before teaming up with Russian wrestler Nikolai Volkoff to win the first WWE World Tag Team Championship at the 1985 Wrestlemania, according to WWE.

According to WWE, Vaziri left the WWE in 1988, though he briefly reappeared in for a storyline in 1991.

"With his larger-than-life persona, incredible charisma, and unparalleled in-ring skills, he captivated audiences around the globe," the statement shared on his Twitter said. "He was a trailblazer, breaking barriers and paving the way for a diverse range of wrestlers who followed in his footsteps."

Representatives for Vaziri did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.


The WWE paid tribute to Vaziri in a statement on Wednesday, saying: "The Iron Sheik's larger-than-life personality and natural gift for inciting crowds across the globe helped him become one of the greatest villains in sports-entertainment history."

"WWE extends its condolences to The Iron Sheik's family, friends and fans," the organization said.