(WKBN) — A former WWE World Champion and one of the most famous professional wrestlers of the 1980s has passed away.
According to WWE, The Iron Sheik has passed away. The man whose name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vazir was 81 years old.
The former Iranian amateur wrestler became an assistant coach on the United States Greco-Roman wrestling team in the 1970s.
The Iron Sheik wrestled for WWE and other territories throughout the 1980s. On the day after Christmas in 1983, he defeated Bob Backlund to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden.
Sheik held the title for nearly a month before losing the title to Hulk Hogan on January 23, 1983. The villain’s loss to Hogan was the start of Hogan’s time at the top of the wrestling world. The popularity of the WWE surged throughout the decade.
Sheik later became WWE World Tag Team Champion alongside his partner Nikolai Volkoff at WrestleMania 1 in 1985. In his final WrestleMania match, he won the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X7 in 2001.
After his in-ring career ended, he made appearances on Kidd Chris and The Howard Stern Show.
The Iron Sheik was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.