In the 1980s, The Iron Sheik, a WWE superstar and one of Hulk Hogan’s fiercest competitors, passed away, according to a statement the wrestler issued on his Twitter account on Wednesday. He was 81.
“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 statement said.
The Iron Sheik, an Iranian-born professional wrestler whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, won the WWE tag team titles alongside Nikolai Volkoff.
“Throughout his career, The Iron Sheik became a cultural phenomenon, transcending the realm of professional wrestling to become a pop culture icon,” the statement said. “His memorable catchphrases and unforgettable moments are etched into the memories of fans worldwide. He left an indelible mark on the industry, and his influence can still be felt in the world of wrestling today.” Some of The Iron Sheik’s wrestling peers mourned him on Twitter.
“A true icon and someone who left a mark on wrestling that can never be erased,” Jake “The Snake” Roberts wrote. “Another great one gone.”
“Although I never got to know The Sheik well, I was fortunate to have been on hand for two of his most iconic matches – his WWE title victory over Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden on December 26, 1983, and his ‘Boot Camp Match’ with Sgt Slaughter at MSG in August 1984,” Mick Foley wrote. “I also had the honor of wrestling the iron sheik for the first and only time – on a tour of Dominica in 1987. Khosrow Vaziri was truly one of a kind.”