Ultimate Warrior dead of heart attack: was he sick on Monday Night RAW?

Jim Hellwig’s appearance on RAW was electric, but he was clearly not in good shape.

I’m stunned. Jim Hellwig, who starred as The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF (now WWE) in the late ’80s and early ’90s, is dead at 54. The timing is remarkable. After years of tension with the WWE, they recently mended fences and on Saturday night he was inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame alongside other luminaries like Scott Hall (Razor Ramon), Jake Roberts, Lita (Amy Dumas), Carlos Colon, Bill Moody (Paul Bearer), and Wrestlemania I main eventer, Mr. T. Two nights later he made his first appearance on Monday Night RAW since 1996.

If you were watching, the place went batshit. It was the RAW the night after Wrestlemania, and in many ways that’s the best crowd at any event of any type in a given year. So it was an electric moment to say the least. While Hellwig’s schtick was always a barely coherent stream of manic craziness, he was comparatively lucid with his final remarks.

But I noticed something, He was blown up by the time he got to the ring. Watch the video:

I don’t know when the last time Hellwig worked out was, but he was noticeably out of breath after walking down the ramp, slapping a few hands along the way and climbing the steps into the ring. He’s sweaty. His promo was labored, and as he was leaving the ring I was actually wondering if he was okay – was he going to need help getting to the back?

I’m still seeing no information on what killed him, but as of Monday night he was looking distressed enough that I was worried. I wonder what we’re going to learn about his health when we finally get the cause of death.

In any event, he was a great performer, and I’m happy he had his moment of validation before he moved on to join all the other warriors in the sky.


UPDATE: It’s now being called a catastrophic heart attack, and an autopsy is pending.


  • I agree totally I watched raw and said to myself he looks very exhausted and seemed very distressed by the end. Very big shame. R.I.P

  • I had the very same observation as author of article. He appeared to be very winded, especially when he started his speech in the ring. At first, I thought he was overcome by emotion (and probably was) and the heavy breathing had to do with that, but almost right after that he took out his mask and put it on. I’m sure that was planned, but perhaps his persona overtook his health issue? Very saddened and shocked to hear, and prayers for his wife, two children, and mother who was there for the induction ceremony.

  • Something just wasn’t right with him on Raw. When he finished his promo he seems to be completely laboring. Watch him as he finishes and is trying to get his mask off. He just doesn’t look good at all.

  • If a wrestler in top physical shape can die of a heart attack at 54, where does that put the rest of us? I hope the truth will be told, because we do really care and want to know.

    • As I say, I’m not familiar enough with Hellwig to know what kind of shape he was in. But I was noticing that he was blown up before he even got in the ring. He didn’t look like he was in any kind of shape at all.

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