ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, who rose to national prominence in the 1980s during pro wrestling's ascent into mainstream popular culture, died on Sunday. He was 73.

was involved in one of professional wrestling's most memorable feuds in 1984 when he was hit in the head with a coconut by the notorious "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Snuka also appeared at the first WrestleMania in 1985, in the corner of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff and Piper.

Along with wrestlers such as Hogan, Piper, Andre The Giant, The Junkyard Dog and The Iron Sheik, Snuka emerged as one of pro wrestling's iconic household names in the mid-1980s. Snuka's daughter, Sarona, who wrestles as Tamina in the , broke the news on Instagram.

Snuka was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2016.

Snuka was known for his signature "Superfly" splash from the top rope onto his opponents. While today high-flying is a pro wrestling staple, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Snuka's splash was a revolutionary move that left spectators in massive awe of his athleticism.

WWE legend Mick Foley credits Snuka for inspiring him to become a professional wrestler.

Snuka's reputation, however, took a hit when in 2015 he was charged with third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 1983 death of his then-girlfriend Nancy Argentino. Prosecutors never arrested or filed charges against Snuka at the time of the death, but the case was re-opened 32 years later and Snuka was arrested.

A judge, however, earlier this year ruled that Snuka was unfit to stand trial because of his health problems and defense's contention that Snuka was suffering from dementia. The case was dismissed altogether in early January of 2017.

In 2016, Snucka was one of 53 wrestlers who filed a lawsuit against the alleging that the company didn't do enough to protect them from head injuries or other health problems.

Several professional wrestlers tweeted their condolences to Snuka's family.

Here's the classic "Piper's Pit" segment that led to one of the greatest feuds of all-time.


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