The Iron Sheik, famed WWE wrestler and popular social media personality, reportedly died on Wednesday (June 7). He was 81. His representative, Jian Magen, confirmed the news to CBS. He’s survived by wife Caryl, who he was married to for 47 years, and his children Tanya, Nikki and Marisa. No cause of death has been confirmed.
In a statement, his family called The Iron Sheik “an iconic figure who left an incredible mark on the world of professional wrestling.” It continued, “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, who hailed from Iran, was a Greco-Roman wrestler and tried out for his country’s Olympic team in 1968. He later moved to the U.S. and became an assistant coach for the American wrestling team. He then joined the WWF in 1979 and won the WWF world heavyweight title five years later. In 2005, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
R.A. The Rugged Man is among the many paying tribute to The Iron Sheik on Twitter. He wrote, “Rest in Peace IRON SHEIK. The Camel Clutch legendary. WWF. I love my childhood.”
The Iron Sheik has been referenced in numerous Hip-Hop songs, including the 1994 Illmatic cut “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” when Nas raps, “I freak beats, slam it like Iron Sheik/Jam like a Tec with correct techniques.”
AllHipHop sends our condolences to all of The Iron Sheik’s loved ones and his many, many fans. Revisit “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” below.