UPDATE 04/13/2014: The Ultimate Warrior’s wife Dana Hellwig is being taken care of after the passing of her husband. In addition to the outpouring of support from fans and mainstream media alike, the WWE has jumped in to make sure Dana is taken care of. According to TMZ, the company has sent two employees to Arizona to assist Dana with the mundane details in the wake of Warrior’s sudden death, such as grocery shopping and filtering news to family.
For a company who Warrior spent the better part of a two decades battling, the WWE is doing what they can to make up for lost time posthumously. A large memorial for Warrior is planned for Monday Night Raw on April 14.
During Wrestelmania XXX weekend in New Orleans, Jim “Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig’s wife Dana Hellwig was front and center during his WWE Hall of Fame induction. A visibly proud and emotional Hellwig sat and supported her husband during the crowning achievement of his professional life. The Hall of Fame induction, and subsequent appearances at Wrestlemania and the next nights Monday Night Raw brought into focus the sacrifice which Warrior had put himself through for his wrestling career.
One day after his last appearance, the Ultimate Warrior died at age 54.
Warrior, whose former name is Jim Hellwig but legally changed to Warrior in 1993, wrestled in the WWE for much of the 1980s and 1990s. He battled the company over it’s portrayal of him in a DVD release The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. Based on negative portrayals and testimonies from former opponents including Triple-H, Warrior filed lawsuit against the company in 2006, which was ultimately dismissed in 2009. Though relations were strained, Warrior returned in 2014 for his Hall of Fame induction, while also announcing he’d signed a multi-year deal as an ambassador for the company.
Outside of the ring, Warrior was a committed family man. His firs marriage fell apart shortly after his wrestling career. After establishing a presence outside the ring as a motivational speaker, Warrior married Dana Hellwig in 2000, though she declined to change her last name to Warrior. The couple has two daughters, Indiana Marin “Indy” Warrior and Mattigan Twain Warrior.
Warrior’s final public appearance occurred at the Monday Night Raw after Wrestlemania. In what was a strange and telling premonition Warrior went to the ring to don the Warrior mask and cut a final promo:
No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. 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 story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!
TMZ broke the story, indicating that Warrior collapsed while walking to his car with his wife outside of their hotel. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. No cause of death has been released yet.