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The Iron Sheik has died

17th Annual ESPY Awards - ESPY’s Celebration Of Champions Athlete Kickoff Photo by John Shearer/WireImage

The Twitter account of The Iron Sheik announced this morning that the WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend died recently. The former WWF champion (real name Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) was 81 years old.

Remembering The Iron Sheik

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.

Beyond the wrestling persona that the world knew so well, The Iron Sheik was a devoted family man. He cherished the love and support of his wife of 47 years Caryl, who stood by his side through thick and thin, offering unwavering encouragement throughout his life. Their bond was an anchor, providing him with the strength to face the challenges that life presented.

To his children, Tanya, Nikki, Marissa and son in law Eddie, he was not just a wrestling icon. He was a loving and dedicated father. He instilled in them the values of perseverance, determination, and the importance of following their dreams. The Iron Sheik’s guidance and unwavering belief in their potential served as a driving force for his children, empowering them to become the best versions of themselves.

The Iron Sheik’s love also extended to his grandchildren, Marissa, Zahra, Alexis, Chloe and Niko who brought immeasurable joy into his life. As a doting Papa Sheik, he cherished every moment spent with them, creating memories that will forever be treasured. He shared his wisdom, humor, and zest for life with his grandchildren, leaving an incredible impression on their hearts.

The Iron Sheik, (whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri), transcended the realm of sports entertainment. With his larger-than-life persona, incredible charisma, and unparalleled in-ring skills, he captivated audiences around the globe. He was a trailblazer, breaking barriers and paving the way for a diverse range of wrestlers who followed in his footsteps.

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.

However, it was not just his in-ring prowess that defined him. The Iron Sheik was a beloved figure who was known for his humor, his larger-than-life personality, and his ability to connect with fans on a personal level. He embraced his role as a heel, becoming one of the most notorious villains in wrestling history… but he also won the hearts of millions with his charm and infectious spirit.

In the realm of family, love, and friendship, The Iron Sheik’s bond with his nephews, Page and Jian Magen was unparalleled. They recognized the significance of their uncle’s legacy and worked tirelessly to ensure that his impact would never be forgotten. They dedicated themselves to preserving his legacy, celebrating his accomplishments, and sharing his story with the world. Their unwavering commitment showcased the profound love and respect they have for him. These devoted nephews poured their hearts into honoring their uncle every single day, reflecting the profound love and admiration they hold for him. They understand the influence he has had on countless lives and embrace the responsibility of carrying forward his legacy. Through their heartfelt dedication, they ensured that The Iron Sheik’s impact would continue to resonate for generations to come.

Throughout his career, The Iron Sheik became a cultural phenomenon, transcending the realm of professional wrestling to become a pop culture icon. His memorable catchphrases and unforgettable moments are etched into the memories of fans worldwide. He left an indelible mark on the industry, and his influence can still be felt in the world of wrestling today.

As we bid farewell to The Iron Sheik, let us remember him not only for his athletic prowess but also for the joy and inspiration he brought into our lives. His legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of fans, as well as in the annals of wrestling history.

To his family, friends, and all those who were touched by his larger-than-life presence, we offer our deepest condolences. May you find solace in the knowledge that The Iron Sheik’s legacy will forever be cherished and celebrated. Rest in peace, dear Sheik, and thank you for the memories.


Born in Iran, Khosrow was an amateur wrestler with Olympic dreams when he moved to the United States. He began training for his professional career with Verne Gagne is the early 1970s, and got his start in Gagne’s AWA where he also helped train other aspiring pros like Ricky Steamboat.

Sheik debuted for the then-WWF at Madison Square Garden in 1979, winning a battle royal to challenge the Fed’s long-time champion Bob Backlund. He lost that match and eventually worked other territories before returning to the WWF in 1983. He won the belt at the Garden, ending the All-American’s reign at 1,470 days when Backlund’s manager threw in the towel out of concern the Camel Clutch would permanently damage his client’s neck. A rematch the following year saw a debuting Hulk Hogan replace Backlund and win the title, kickstarting what would become known as Hulkamania.

In his role as one of Hogan’s primary foils throughout the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling era that spawned WrestleMania, Sheik became a well-known figure in larger popular culture. The WWF released him in 1987 after a DUI arrest (likely more because his being arrested with his babyface rival Hacksaw Jim Duggan ruined their kayfabe angle than for the alcohol & drugs involved in their arrest) but he returned several times over the remainder of his career while also working for the few remaining regional promotions and WCW.

His last match was in 2010, but he continued to make appearances for promotions in non-wrestling roles until his death. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

No information is available about the cause of Sheik’s death.

On behalf of the entire Cageside Seats community, we say thanks for the memories, Shieky Baby. We also send our condolences to his family, and friends.

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