NORMAN — James Brian Hellwig — known by his stage name, The Ultimate Warrior — one of the most iconic and popular professional wrestlers, died Tuesday night at the age of 54.
He collapsed on the sidewalk outside his Arizona hotel room and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a TMZ report.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) released this statement regarding The Ultimate Warrior’s death: “WWE is shocked and greatly saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever.Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history.”
The Ultimate Warrior became popular in Oklahoma football circles during the 2011 preseason, when then-defensive coordinator Brent Venables suggested that his linebackers watched YouTube videos of the WWE superstar.
Then just before the Sooners’ season opener that year, The Ultimate Warrior posted a YouTube video message to OU middle linebacker Tom Wort. (The link is NSFW because of some language).