Pro wrestling legend Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka has died of stomach cancer, according to family and friends. He was 73.
Celebrity-news site TMZ, which first reported the death, said it came less than two weeks after Mr. Snuka had murder charges dismissed against him on the grounds that was suffering from dementia and was about to die.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted that “our family @TaminaSnuka asked me to share the sad news that her dad Jimmy Snuka has just passed away.”
Mr. Johnson went on to tweet “Alofa atu i le aiga atoa,” which TMZ reported means in Samoan “family is forever.”
Miss Snuka herself, who also performs for World Wrestling Entertainment, tweeted in all capital letters, “I love you dad.”
She also posted to Instagram a photo of two hands clasping, presumable hers and her dying father’s.
In the ring, Mr. Snuka was known for his high-flying acrobatic style and his “Superfly Splash” finishing move, which saw him climb onto the top rope and crash his body onto that of his prone opponent.
He wrestled for every major promotion at one time or another from the mid-1970s to 2010, and was inaugurated into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1996.
The Iron Sheik, another “heel” wrestler for the 1980s WWF that took wrestling national, tweeted his reaction in all capital letters.
“MY Heart broke Jimmy Superfly Snuka I miss you forver. RIP my brother,” he wrote.
Out of the ring, the last part of his life was consumed by murder charges in the 1983 death of Nancy Argentino, who died in his hotel room, of blunt-force damage to the brain. Charges were brought last year, but were dismissed Jan. 3 by Judge Kelly Banach.
Last July, wife Carole Snuka joined a class-action lawsuit on his behalf against the WWE, similar to lawsuits brought against the NFL for concussion. The suit said the promotion “routinely failed to care” for its wrestlers and “fraudulently misrepresented and concealed” the risks of head injuries. Even though professional wrestling is fake combat, the stunts still involve considerable body and head contact in the best of cases, and the risk of mistakes is inherent in them.