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Wrestling icon The Iron Sheik dead at 81

WWE Hall of Famer and 1980s professional wrestling icon The Iron Sheik died Wednesday at the age of 81.

His death was announced on his official Twitter account. No cause of death was given for the Sheik, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri.

"Today, we gather with heavy hearts to bid farewell to a true legend, a force of nature, and an iconic figure who left an indelible mark on the world of professional wrestling," the lengthy post began. "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 Sheik was known for his rivalries with Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund and Sgt. Slaughter among others. He was a former WWF world heavyweight champion, earning induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Iranian-born Iron Sheik often referred to himself as "the legend" while his opponents might get tagged with the "jabroni" label.

"The Iron Sheik became a cultural phenomenon, transcending the realm of professional wrestling to become a pop culture icon," the Twitter post went on. "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."

According to the Twitter post, Vazziri is survived by his wife, Caryl, and his children Tanya, Nikki and Marisa.

--Field Level Media Top Stories

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