Professional wrestling and pop culture legend The Iron Sheik, who embraced his role as “one of the most iconic villains” in the history of the entertainment genre, has died, his team announced Wednesday.
He was 81 years old.
The announcement was made on the wrestler’s popular Twitter feed, which has more than 640,000 followers.
The statement gave no details of how the man, born Hossein Khosrow Ali Waziri, died.
According to the release, The Iron Sheik has “transcended the realm of sports entertainment” with his “larger-than-life personality, incredible charisma, and unparalleled in-ring skills.”
The all-caps tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter feed on the angry artist comically and often summed up-Predominantly personal profanity: “Take a minute out of your day to be nice to someone you’re condoning son a b —-.”
The sheikh often used humorous biting language to deal with current events.
His last tweet, before the post announcing his death, referred to the Canadian wildfires darkening skies across the northeastern United States: “F – THE WILDFIRES.”
“WWE is saddened to hear the news of the passing of The Iron Sheik from the WWE Hall of Famer, and extends its condolences to his family, friends, and fans,” according to a statement From the professional wrestling organization.
The Sheikh emerged as a comedy set in the 1980s in America, when tensions between the United States and Iran reached a boiling point during the Tehran hostage crisis.
Before stepping into the comically anti-American heel outfit, The Sheik was a real-life wrestler, competing as an amateur in his native Iran before moving to the United States.
Sheikh achieved his American dream in late 1983, when he captured the world heavyweight belt by taking down Bob Backlund in Madison Square Garden, in a “controversial” outcome, According to WWE archives.
It was a contested title “as Backlund’s manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel after Backlund refused to submit,” according to a WWE narration.
The Sheik only held that title for a month, ceding it to emerging superstar Hulk Hogan and launching a long rivalry with the Hulkster.
The sheikh maintained the kayfabe act for decades, tweeting frequently and gratuitously insults to Hogan. He wrote “F-K THE HULK HOGAN!” In early 2021.
“Travel geek. Incurable music expert. Food maven. Troublemaker. Lifelong student. Avid tv junkie.”