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The Ultimate Warrior dies at 54: Pro wrestling mourns loss of one of its greats

The Ultimate Warrior, one of the world's most charismatic and popular professional wrestlers, has died at the age of 54, just days after being inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame.

WWE announced the death of Warrior, born James Brian Hellwig, in a statement on its website late Tuesday. 

"WWE is shocked and greatly saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever," the statement read. "Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history."

Scottsdale, Ariz., police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark said he collapsed while walking with his wife to their car at a hotel and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

There were no signs of foul play, Clark said. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy Thursday, county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick said.

Warrior's death came approximately 24 hours after he appeared on WWE's "Monday Night Raw" show, and days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during Wrestlemania festivities in New Orleans. 

Warrior's fellow pro wrestlers were quick to send their condolences.

"Saddened to announce the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Icon and friend. My sympathy to his wife Dana and his daughters," Triple H tweeted.

"RIP WARRIOR. only love. HH," tweeted Hellwig's biggest ring rival Hulk Hogan.

Born in Crawfordsville, Ind. in 1959, Warrior began his career at what was then called the World Wrestling Federation in 1987. He became the franchise's champion wrestler in 1990, when he defeated Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania. In 1993, he legally changed his name to The Ultimate Warrior. 

Warrior retired from the ring in 1998 after briefly working for WWE's rival, World Championship Wrestling, but returned for a final match in 2008. 

He is survived by his wife, Dana and two daughters. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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