Fatu is through as his number comes due: RIP Umaga

Posted by Andy Durham on December 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm under Professional | 3 Comments to Read

from yahoosports and www.yahoo.com:

Eki “Eddie” Fatu died in Houston on Friday after a massive heart attack, adding to a long list of professional wrestlers who died by the age of 40.

The 36-year old Fatu, who achieved his greatest fame in recent years as a star in the industry-leading World Wrestling Entertainment under the name “Umaga,” was found unconscious in his Spring, TX living room by his wife, who had him rushed to the hospital. Fatu had a second heart attack in the hospital before he died.

Fatu, who was memorable for his distinct facial tattoos, comes from a large family of Samoan wrestlers who have influenced the business for several generations, beginning with his uncles, the brother combination of Afa and Sika Anoi’a, who formed a successful act known as “The Wild Samoans” in the 1970s and ’80s. The most famous member of the clan is cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who left wrestling for Hollywood fame.

Fatu’s career peak came in 2007, as he co-headlined Wrestlemania 23 in Detroit, a card that received a ton of publicity for a storyline involving WWE owner Vince McMahon and Donald Trump. But his run at the top was short-lived, and he was released from his WWE contract on June 8 when he refused to go into rehab after a second violation of the WWE’s drug policy.

Fatu had recently returned from an independent wrestling tour of Australia when he was stricken.

“On behalf of my family, the Anoa’i and Fatu family, we are devastated and shocked by the loss of our Eki,” Afa Anoa’i told the Wrestling Observer. Our son, nephew, brother, cousin, husband, father. Our hearts are broken, and words can’t express what each of us are feeling. It is so comforting to know how loved Eki is by his family, peers, friends, and most of all his fans.”

A staggering number of young pro wrestlers have died over the past 10 years, leading some to believe the industry has a curse. Among the most notorious cases were Chris Benoit, 40, who committed suicide in Georgia in 2007 after murdering his wife, Nancy, and son Daniel; Eddie Guerrero, 38, who died of a heart attack in 2005 in a Minnesota hotel room; and Owen Hart, 33, who died in Kansas City in 1999 after a stunt went awry during a live television shoot. In March, another former WWE wrestler, Andrew “Test” Martin, 34, died after an Oxycontin overdose.


  • Ziggy said,

    What a joke this farce of pro wrestling is.

    Steroid-using men pushing their bodies to limit. (see movie Wrestler, a fair depiction).

    It’s cheap entertainment for many, but at what cost? Is it really worth it?

    Who would shed a tear–and why–if there was no WWE or pro wrestling tomorrow?

  • Bamm Bamm said,

    The death of Eki Fatu sure came as a surprise…unfortunately. Pro Wrestling isn’t a bad thing, it’s been around for 100 years, not just since “The Rock N Wrestling Connection! Just like everything else, it’s the entities that run the businesses that cause the problems.

    From the heads of WWE, TNA, & all the defunct organizations that have been (AWA, NWA, WCW, World Class, etc…etc..), all the way down to your local show at the National Guard Armorys or the high schools, the business is controlled by dollar signs & who has them.

    Believe it or not, there was a time when the steroid freaks & the muscle heads were the occasional special draw & not the norm. (Superstar Billy Graham’s the first that I remember) Then, promoters figured out that the viewer likes the tight body look & that there was plenty of marketing opportunities behind it, so now, 99 percent of the workers look like they have the “blow up” muscles! It’s hard to blame the workers though, imagine if someone came up to you offering big bucks, saying they love your work & your look…if only you were 20 lbs. bigger…what would you do??? Not as easy a decision as you might think…I personally know wrestlers that this has happened to (although I didn’t have that issue:):):):)!!)

    It’s no better at the local level..you have so-called “promoters” letting workers that aren’t trained properly kill each other, cut themselves so they bleed out a couple of quarts, & do moves that they have no business attempting & the promoters give them out that big $20 payoff, and workers are happy to do it & show up again the following weekend to do the same, because they “think” they’re living that wrestling life…

    What’s the answer?? I wish I knew….Vince (WWE) got around the regulation side of it years ago, when he started going by the term “sports entertainment”. WWE at least seems to be suspending the guys if they test positive, which is more than we can say for TNA when Kurt Angle gets busted for roid’s & hasn’t seemed to miss a beat. I do fully believe that local events ought to be regulated under the different states sports commisions. That’s the only thing that will drive out the “bad” promoters in the business.

  • Andy said,

    Umaga/Junior Fatu, spent some time with a friend of a friend here in town a year or so back and some heavy partying was going on and now they are both dead, dying within 6 months of each other.

    I hate to see these guys go out so young…….