Pro wrestling star 'Ultimate Warrior' dead at 54

(WJLA) - Just days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, one of the wrestling world's biggest stars has died.

WWE officials confirmed in a statement Tuesday night that James Brian Hellwig, known as the "Ultimate Warrior," has died unexpectedly at the age of 54.

“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” the statement reads.

According to ABC News' Dan Good via "Good Morning America," Hellwig was a trailblazer in the wrestling world, known for his bright face paint, bulging muscles, dramatic speeches and the way he shook the ropes of the ring before a fight.

Hellwig defeated one of wrestling's other biggest superstars, Hulk Hogan, to become the WWE Champion in 1987, when his career was just beginning.

ABC News reported that Ultimate Warrior was in the process of a comeback, having just signed a new, multi-year deal with WWE to serve as an official ambassador after being absent from the ring for the past 18 years.

ABC News quoted a tweet by Hulk Hogan Tuesday night when he learned of Hellwig's passing - "RIP WARRIOR. Only love. - HH"

Read more on ABC News online.

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