The colorful world of WWE sports entertainment has lost one of its most iconic wrestlers over the weekend. Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, who was best known for his leaps from the top rope in the 1980s, passed away on Sunday night at the age of 73. Attorney Robert Kirwan II announced that the wrestler was taken to his son-in-law's home in Pompano Beach, Florida, confirming that he passed, "due to complications from his ongoing medical problems." But he wouldn't elaborate any further on those medical problems. Here's what the WWE had to say in a statement.
"WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has passed away. Snuka is regarded by many as the pioneer of high-flying offense because of his Superfly Splash from the top turnbuckle. His dive off the top of the steel cage onto Don Muraco at Madison Square Garden as hundreds of flash bulbs went off will forever live as one of the most memorable moments in WWE history. WWE extends its condolences to Snuka's family, friends and fans."
ESPN spoke with Robert Kirwan II, who said the pro wrestler was transferred from the VITAS Hospice Unit at Broward Health North in Pompano Beach, Florida, where he had been hospitalized since December 17, to his son-in-law's home in Pompano Beach, where he passed surrounded by family and friends. The wrestler had been battling a number of health problems such as dementia and an unspecified infection. Just days before his death, on January 3, he was also cleared of any wrongdoing in the May 1983 murder of his former girlfriend Nancy Argentino. Here's what Robert Kirwan II had to say in his brief statement.
"It's with a heavy heart and sadness that he's gone. It was a long year and a half journey, and it's unfortunate that he passed away right after the case was finally dismissed. I don't think he will go down in history as anything other than what he was: a legend in the wrestling world and just a good person. I haven't heard one person say anything bad about Jimmy who knows him from the wrestling days, and many came to support him [in recent months.] Jimmy was bigger than life. Whenever you were in the room with Jimmy, you knew that you were in the room with Jimmy Snuka. Even when he was in his weakest condition, he still had a personality about him."
Jimmy Snuka was arrested in Allentown, Pennsylvania in September 2015 in connection with the murder of Nancy Argentino, the wrestler's then-girlfriend who was found dead in a Whitehall Township, Pennyslvania hotel room on May 10, 1983. The original case went cold shortly after her death, but it was reopened in 2015 following an investigation by the local newspaper Allentown Morning Call. The wrestler was the only person of interest in the case, but he was never charged, claiming she died from a fall, while the new investigation claims she was beaten. During a December hearing to evaluate Jimmy Snuka's mental state, his wife Carole Snuka told the judge via a live video that her husband was given six months to live and he was placed in hospice care. It was ruled that he was not physically well enough to travel and didn't attend the January 3, 2017 trial that cleared his name. WWE legend Dwayne Johnson also released a statement about Superfly on his Instagram page, which you can read below.
"My family, @saronasnukawwe gave me this amazing pic she took of her dad only a few short months ago. I immediately got choked up when I first saw this as she told me he sat there in this chair for hours and just watched his old wrestling promos and matches... in complete silence. Never said a word, just watched and reflected. Got choked up over the thought of what must've been going thru his mind in these hours watching himself... pride, joy, regret, satisfaction, pain, love. I wondered if at any point he sat here wishing he could do it all over again. Or, if he sat here completely at peace with his incredible, inspiring, wildly successful and at times extremely complicated life he's lived. Well before there was WrestleManias, PPV's, big money guaranteed contracts, the internet or pro wrestling being coined, "sports entertainment", it's hard to articulate how "on fire" this man was in the early 80's and how much he impacted and electrified the wrestling business' bottom line. His wrestling promos had a quiet intensity that made you believe every word that came out of his mouth and you just knew that you had to run down to Madison Square Garden and buy your tickets because he was going to electrify that night. Another Garden sell out. I grew up with this man as our families lived together in Hawaii and North Carolina. His children Jimmy Jr, Liana, Sarona and Ata all idolized him, as did I. Awesome memories. To the world, he was known as the iconic Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka but to me he was and will always be, simply.. uncle. Rest in peace, uncle. Fly high bruddah..now you have real wings."
'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka is survived by his wife Carole Snuka and his children Tamina Snuka, who is currently a WWE Superstar herself, Liana, James Jr. and Ata. We have assembled a collection of tweets sent out after word of Jimmy Snuka's death started to spread last night. Take a look at all of these tributes to the late wrestler below.