WWE Legend Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka Dies at 73; DJ Clue, Hulk Hogan & Others React
The wrestling world is mourning the loss of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, who passed away on Sunday (Jan. 15) from stomach cancer. He was 73.
Snuka’s daughter, who also wrestles professionally under the name Tamina Snuka, revealed the sad news on her Instagram page. The photo above features her holding her father’s hand. “I LOVE YOU DAD,” she writes in the caption with the hashtags #RestWell and #BestDad.”
A native of the Fiji Islands, Snuka (real name James Wiley Smith) grind his way through the wrestling circuit starting out in the Pacific Northwest Wrestling league in the early-1970s, In the '80s, he rose through the ranks of the then-World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) and became famous for his high-flying leaps off the ring's top rope. His most memorable feud came in 1984 with the late "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.
In one of the most infamous moments on WWE, Piper busted a coconut open on Snuka's head and then whipped the stunned wrestler during a segment of "Piper's Pit." Snuka would later battle Piper in a tag team matchup with Hulk Hogan and Mister T in his corner against Piper and Cowboy Bob Orton at the original Wrestlemania in 1985.
During his tenure at WWE, Snuka battled several wrestling icons, including the Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy, Ricky Steamboat and Chris Jericho, among others.
Snuka's death comes two weeks after third-degree murder and involuntary charges were dropped because of his health in the death of his girlfriend in 1983. Snuka was moved to hospice care in Florida months ago following reports that he was suffering from dementia.
Upon hearing the sad news of Snuka's death, wrestlers and celebrities expressed their condolences on social media.
Mixtape king DJ Clue tweeted out, "RIP Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka one of my favorite wrestlers of all time," while Hulk Hogan wrote, "RIP Superfly. Only love HH."
We want to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. He was a phenomenal athlete who elevated the sport of wrestling. He will be truly missed.
Read some of the reactions below.