In the hours since his passing was announced by Triple H via Twitter, just about everyone has shared thoughts, tributes, and memories all over the Internet. His death was front page news in most mainstream outlets. Throughout Wednesday, his passing and coverage of a school violence incident close to my home were the top two stories on CNN, thus adding even more surreality to the day.
Armchair doctors and detectives have tried to pinpoint a time during his very public last weekend where one may notice a change in behavior. Many have looked upon his appearance on Monday Night Raw less than twenty-four hours before his death as a sign. Between odd mannerisms and an even odder and coincidental "goodbye" speech, some have wondered aloud if he in fact knew that something was wrong internally. In my own mind, I recall his awkward pauses and occasional chest-clutching during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech as being out of place, but we will never know.
But at this moment, there's zero time to give to those individuals. Now is the time to think about the man himself, his fans, and most importantly his biggest fans--his family. This weekend the public was introduced to his wife, mother, and young daughters. It is a shock to think that what had to have been such an exciting and life affirming weekend for all five of them would end so tragically.
I was in my early years of life as well as wrestling fandom when the Warrior was at the top of the business. WrestleMania VI was defining viewing of my childhood, and when asked which of the Tonka Wrestling Buddies I wanted for Christmas 1990, I picked the Ultimate Warrior. I met the Ultimate Warrior less than two years ago, and it was evident that the man enjoyed meeting those who grew up with him. To me, it appeared that the admiration reaffirmed that he was indeed so well remembered and beloved. The wrestling business, whether it was justified or not, had all but taken that away from him.
As his speech on Raw said, "...the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever!" I would have to agree.