WWE’s The Iron Sheik dies aged 81 sparking flood of tributes to global superstar

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    WWE legend The Iron Sheik has died at the age of 81, his family has confirmed.

    In a post from The Sheik's Twitter account with the caption "respect the legend forever", it was confirmed the "true legend" of the ring had passed.

    The Iron Sheik, real name Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, had been a key member of the WWF, now WWE, back in the 1980s and feuded with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter.

    READ MORE: Iconic WWE star Iron Sheik challenges Cocaine bear to Wrestlemania match in mad tweet

    A flood of tributes has since followed with many praising the in-ring legend and WWE Hall of Famer for his work in the ring, which saw him hold the WWE Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship with Nikolai Volkoff.

    A statement published through The Iron Sheik's Twitter account read: "Today, we gather with heavy hearts to bid farewell to a true legend, a force of nature, and an iconic figure who left an incredible mark on the world of professional wrestling.

    "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 Iron Sheik leaves behind his wife of 47 years, Cheryl, and his children Tanya, Nikki, Marissa and son-in-law Eddie.

    Hall of Famer Sheik had delighted fans with his frequent tweets, including one glorious Christmas Day, where he wished everyone a Merry Christmas, except "that dumb son of a b**ch Hulk Hogan".

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    Crediting their loved one with "transcending the realm of sports entertainment" and noting he was "trailblazer", the family's tribute to the wrestling legend was met with a flood of tributes from fans.

    One fan wrote: "We will always cherish the moments you gave us all. Condolences to his family, friends and fans."

    Another added: "This one hurts… Rest in peace, legend."

    Hossein's family statement continued: "Beyond the glitz and glamour of the squared circle, The Iron Sheik was a man of immense passion and dedication.

    "He embodied resilience. He overcame countless challenges in his life, both inside and outside the wrestling ring.

    "His journey from a small village in Iran to becoming one of the most recognizable figures in the world of wrestling is a testament to his unwavering determination."

    Crediting The Sheik for his "larger-than-life personality" and ability to "connect with fans on a personal level", the Twitter tribute racked up 30,000 likes and more than 10,000 retweets.

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