Former WWE star Ultimate Warrior collapses, dies outside Scottsdale resort

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by azfamily.com and Tyler Conway, CNN Featured Columnist

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 6:39 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 11 at 6:34 AM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Just three days after being inducted into the company's Hall of Fame, iconic WWE superstar Ultimate Warrior died Tuesday evening.

According to the Scottsdale Police Department, James B. Hellwig collapsed just before 6 p.m. while walking with his wife to their car at the Gainey Suites Hotel in Scottsdale.

He was rushed to a local hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. He was 54.

"At this point in the investigation, it appears as though a catastrophic medical condition caused his death," Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark wrote in an email to 3TV.

The hotel, which is described as "a unique, upscale boutique-style retreat," has declined to comment.

WWE wrestler and executive Triple H broke the news of Warrior's death on Twitter.

Warrior's death comes as a shock to many who saw him seemingly in full health on WWE programming the past few days. He was a 2014 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, appeared at WrestleMania 30 and was on the latest edition of "Monday Night Raw" in character.

"We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and "Monday Night Raw" to address his legions of fans," a WWE release read. "WWE sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans."

Warrior -- Hellwig legally changed his name in 1993 -- launched his WWE career in 1987. His rise to stardom was meteoric, peaking in the early '90s. He beat Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI to become WWF (now WWE) Champion. "Pro Wrestling Illustrated" magazine named the battle for the title 1990's Match of the Year.

After his Hall of Fame induction Saturday, Warrior spoke of death during his appearance on "Monday Night Raw," less than 24 hours before he collapsed and died.

"No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own," he said. "Every man's heart one day beats its final beat; his lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit will be immortalized by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory."

Warrior is survived by his wife Dana and two daughters, 11 and 13.

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