Iron Sheik, WWE Hall of Famer, dies at 81

Sheik, whose birth name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, was born in Damghan, Iran, and was thrust into the spotlight during the heyday of the WWE in the 1980s with his backstory and his style on the microphone making his promos must-watch television.

SHARE Iron Sheik, WWE Hall of Famer, dies at 81
The Iron Sheik, a WWE Hall of Famer and one of professional wrestling’s best villains for decades, has died at age 81.

The Iron Sheik, a WWE Hall of Famer and one of professional wrestling’s best villains for decades, has died at age 81.

Matt Sayles/AP

The Iron Sheik, a WWE Hall of Famer and one of professional wrestling’s best villains for decades neutralizing opponents with his finishing move the “camel clutch,” has died.

Sheik, born Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, was 81. No cause of death was given.

“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,” a statement on Sheik’s social media read. “To his family, friends, and all those who were touched by his larger-than-life presence, we offer our deepest condolences. May you find solace in the knowledge that The Iron Sheik’s legacy will forever be cherished and celebrated. Rest in peace, dear Sheik, and thank you for the memories.”

The WWE also released a statement saying it was “saddened” to hear of Sheik’s passing.

Sheik was born in Damghan, Iran and was thrust into the spotlight during the heyday of the WWE in the 1980’s with his backstory and his style on the microphone making his promos must-watch television.

He won the WWE, then the WWF, World Heavyweight title in 1983 after defeating Bob Backlund by putting him in the camel clutch, ending the match when Backland’s corner threw in the towel.

He was defeated by Hulk Hogan later that year for the title, as Hogan’s victory marked the beginning of “Hulkamania” and took over the sports entertainment industry for the next decade.

Sheik made the rounds in the professional wrestling business, suiting up for World Class Championship Wrestling, and the National Wrestling Alliance, the precursor to World Championship Wrestling.

During his career, Sheik also teamed with Nikolai Volkoff, winning the World Tag Team title, before entering into popular feuds with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter.

Sheik was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sheik is survived by his wife and three children.

Read more at usatoday.com

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