We're sad to report that Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, a.k.a. The Iron Sheik, died today at the age of 81. The news was confirmed by his family in a lengthy statement on social media which you can read below.
The WWE Hall of Famer was active on Twitter and known for his blunt and often hilarious in-character comments.
Considered one of the greatest heels in professional wrestling history, he competed in Greco-Roman Wrestling and the territories before ultimately finding his way to WWE. There, he defeated Bob Backlund in Madison Square Garden to become WWE Champion in 1983.
It was a controversial victory as Backlund's manager, Arnold Skaaland, threw in the towel when Backlund refused to submit to the Camel Clutch. The Iron Sheik later lost the title to Hulk Hogan and went on to take centre stage in an unforgettable feud with Sgt. Slaughter (culminating in their iconic Boot Camp Match).
Later, he'd team with Russia's Nikolai Volkoff with an anti-American gimmick that saw them win the WWE World Tag Team Championship in 1985 at the first WrestleMania.
After later becoming Sgt. Slaughter's unlikely ally, Colonel Mustafa, The Iron Sheik made his final in-ring appearance for WWE at WrestleMania 17 where he won a Battle Royal...and kicked Slaughter's butt, of course.
A pop culture icon, his death has hit the wrestling world hard and tributes have been pouring in all day. Twitter isn't going to be the same without him, that's for sure.
Our thoughts go out to The Iron Sheik's friends and family at this difficult time.