The death of the Ultimate Warrior was just the latest grim reminder that professional wrestlers continue to drop dead from something other than old age at an alarming rate.
The pinnacle of the Warrior's career was WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990, at SkyDome in Toronto. Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan in the main event to win the championship. Warrior is the 12th wrestler who competed at WrestleMania VI to have died -- one-third of the card's working roster. The oldest was just 63.
As a point of reference, of the 44 starting players from that year's Super Bowl between the 49ers and Broncos, only one has died: Denver defensive end Ron Holmes, who was 48 when he passed away in 2011 from diabetes and coronary issues.
Reasons for wrestlers' dying early -- grueling travel schedules, painkiller abuse, steroid use -- have been well-documented. The passing of the Warrior at age 54 from what is suspected to be a heart attack just days after his induction to WWE's Hall of Fame only underscores the issue.
One Third Of WrestleMania VI Competitors Dead
Ultimate Warrior foreshadowed his death on 'Raw' just a day after WrestleMania XXX: "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 that's larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers -- by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him, and make the running the man did live forever."
Ultimate Warrior entered WrestleMania VI as the InterContinental champion and then beat Hulk Hogan for the WWF title.
Savage was 58 when he died of a heart attack in 2011.
At WrestleMania VI, Savage and Sensational Sherri Martel lost a mixed tag-team match to Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire.
Andre The Giant
Andre was 46 when he died of heart failure in 1993.
Andre The Giant
At WrestleMania VI, Andre and Haku lost the WWE tag-team championship to Ax and Smash of Demolition.
'Ravishing Rick' was 40 when he died of heart failure related to an overdose in 1999.
At WrestleMania VI, Rude defeated Jimmy Snuka.
Known as Mr. Perfect, Hennig was 44 when he died from "acute cocaine intoxication" in 2003.
At WrestleMania VI, Hennig lost to Brutus Beefcake.
Known as Earthquake, Tenta was 42 when he died in 2006 from bladder cancer that spread to his lungs.
At WrestleMania VI, he defeated Hercules.
Known as Hercules, Fernandez was 47 when he died in 2004 from heart disease.
At WrestleMania VI, he lost to Earthquake.
Known as Bad News Brown, Coage, an Olympic bronze medalist in judo, was 63 when he died in 2007 of a heart attack.
At WrestleMania VI, he had a double countout in his match against Roddy Piper.
"Sensational Sherri" was 49 when she died of an overdose in 2007.
At WrestleMania VI, she and Randy Savage lost a mixed tag-team match to Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire.
Bravo was 44 when he was gunned down in 1993, a murder that some believe was linked his alleged involvement in a cigarette smuggling ring.
At WrestleMania VI, he lost to Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
Known as Big Boss Man, Traylor was 41 when he died of a heart attack in 2004.
At WrestleMania VI, he defeated Akeem.
Known as Juanita Wright, Sapphire was 61 when she died of a heart attack in 1996. At WrestleMania VI, she and Dusty Rhodes won a mixed tag-team match against Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri.
Elizabeth Hulette didn't officially compete as a wrestler at WrestleMania VI, so she wasn't counted among the 12 who are now dead. But she did accompany Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire for their match and got involved in part of the action.
She died of an overdose in 2003.