Edward "Umaga" Fatu passed away around 6 p.m. Eastern time after suffering a second heart attack while in the hospital. He was 36.
We want to send our condolences to the entire family on their loss.
Eddie Fatu, 36, passed away December 4, 2009 in a Houston hospital after being taken off life support. Earlier news reports (The W) indicated he was discovered by his wife last night, not breathing, with blood coming from his nose. A heart attack has been reported, and the Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter has already made references to prescription painkillers possibly playing a role in THAT (pwtorch.com).
Fatu was best known for his stint as the Samoan Bulldozer Umaga, the two-time, two-time intercontinental champion in WWE. Perhaps his highest profile match came at WrestleMania 23 in 2007, when he was Vince McMahon's representative in a match against Bobby Lashley, representing Donald Trump. Both McMahon and Trump's hair were on the line; Umaga lost and McMahon was shaved bald.
Fatu had previously served one suspension for a violation of WWE's Wellness policy and was let go in June, 2009 after refusing rehab after a second violation.
Very recently, Fatu had competed under his own name as part of the Australian HULKAMANIA tour, which wrapped in Sydney 11/28.
Earlier in his career, he teamed with cousin Matt "Rosie" Anoa'i as Jamal in 3 Minute Warning, which won "Worst Tag Team" in the 2002 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards.
Fatu was a polarizing figure - dividing wrestling fans almost in half. The two camps were represented by those who either enjoyed his big man offense and dominating character OR thought he was an overpushed slug who had no business winning titles and competing so high up the card.
As Umaga, Fatu only promo'd in English once - on an episode of "WWE Smackdown" prior to his final match, a "Samoan strap" match against C.M. Punk at WWE Extreme Rules (June 7, 2009), which he lost. His release was announced the very next day.
Amongst many other relatives, Fatu is survived by several other wrestlers or former wrestlers, including his uncles Afa and Sika Anoa'i (The Wild Samoans); older brothers Sam (Tonga Kid, Tama) and Solofa (Fatu, Rikishi) Fatu; cousins Samula (Samu), Afa Jr. (Manu) and Matt (Rosey) Anoa'i and "cousin" Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). Fatu's nephew Jonathan - Rikishi's son - is currently in Florida Championship Wrestling performing as Jimmy Uso.
Originally posted by WWE (wwe.com)Umaga passes Written: December 4, 2009
WWE would like to express its deepest condolences to Mr. Fatu’s family, friends and fans on his tragic passing. Mr. Fatu was under contract with WWE at various time periods and most recently performed under the name "Umaga." Mr. Fatu's contract was terminated on June 11, 2009.
The Torch doesn't have it yet.
(edited by CRZ on 4.12.09 1732) The Torch now has a story up reporting that WWE has acknowledged Fatu's death, so I guess they don't have any firsthand stuff yet.
Very sad news. He made the most of the stereotyped Umaga gimmick, and even now when I think of good/great John Cena matches, the first one that always comes to mind is Cena vs. Umaga at the Royal Rumble of 08.
"Put on your helmets, we'll be reaching speeds of 3!" "It was nice of you to give that dead woman another chance." "All right, look alive everybody...oh sorry Susan."- MST3K: Space Mutiny Click Here (myspace.com)
Had a nice run once he was able to get away from the 3 minute warning disaster To move it slightly away from the general wrestler/dead/drugs/repeat, when did he fly back from Australia? Possibility exists for a blood clot to have developed during such a long flight.
An Umaga action figure was one of the first presents my current girlfriend ever bought me, and the first new wrestling figure I've owned since I was about 6 years old. His miniature self is still sitting on my bookshelf behind me on his folding steel (plastic) chair giving me the (taped) thumbs up. Without him I doubt I would ever have learnt how to say 1!2!3! in Samoan, but now I doubt I'll ever forget. So there's something. I'm sorry to see him go.
Wasn't expecting this, and was, in fact, figuring on a WWE return for him. I really enjoyed his character, especially when he was paired with Armando. I especially enjoyed destroying people with him in some of those SD V.S. Raw games. Despite the "conventional wisdom" saying that Eddie was the last of the drug abusing generation, and that those who came a little later have learned from the mistakes of guys like Rude, Hennig, Herc, Pillman and Hawk, wrestlers are still dying. But if he refused rehab, what can you do?
Saying that, though, could WWE.com's response have been any more self-serving? I figure Justin is hinting at this point, but I think it ought to be openly stated. I don't want to railroad this into a Vince-bashing thing, but it seems they're quite bending over backwards here to make sure no one blames them. There might be a time for that, but it's probably after his---I dunno, funeral maybe?
Add me to the list wondering why they ever 'divorced' Umaga from Estrada.
Originally posted by Hogan's My Dad
I don't want to railroad this into a Vince-bashing thing, but it seems they're quite bending over backwards here to make sure no one blames them. There might be a time for that, but it's probably after his---I dunno, funeral maybe?
Don't discount the fact that Linda McMahon is a candidate for the US Senate. The last thing any campaign needs is a fresh scandal.
(But yes, that was about as cold as any of those 'The WWE wishes XXXXX the best in their future endeavors' statements. Though to be fair, it appears the E went as far as their wellness program allowed, and Fatu turned down the offer of rehab.)
Sadly, I can't believe how many times I've typed those 3 letters on wrestling forums.
I hear ya. This totally sucks.
And speaking of what sucks - is WWE's blurb on his passing.
Originally posted by the WWE, nevermoreWWE would like to express its deepest condolences to Mr. Fatu’s family, friends and fans on his tragic passing. Mr. Fatu was under contract with WWE at various time periods and most recently performed under the name "Umaga." Mr. Fatu's contract was terminated on June 11, 2009.
Talk about heartless. Fuck you, WWE.
And, rest in peace, Eddie Fatu. Thanks for the memories, I thought you were awesome.
I was at the Raw where he debuted as Umaga, and Estrada first talked it up making us all think the biggest thing ever would come out. We laughed when it was "just Jamal".
But after a while I started appreciating him a lot. he could actually move and did a lot with the character as far as you can make something from a savage like he was supposed to be. I actually liked him more after Estrada and he were split up.
I read recently that their might be talks of him returning to WWE and I was looking forward to that.
This is probably the first wrestler death where I was able to follow the news before he actually passed away. Felt very surreal last night.
I think Josh's appearance in the ring is solely due to his connection with Tough Enough. Put it on the level of not Eugene, but a face-version of Coach over on RAW. That's what it really comes down to.