EXPIRED: 12/04/09 – Eddie Fatu, 36, was born in San Francisco, California, a member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family. His uncles were Afa and Sika of the Wild Samoans, and his cousin is Dwayne Johnson, known in wrestling as The Rock.
But unlike the Rock, his story doesn’t have such a typical “Hollywood” ending.
Fatu followed his family business and, as a Samoan-American wrestler, he joined with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and later wrestled solo and as part of a tag team – variously named The Island Boyz, the Samoan Gangstas, and 3-Minute Warning in Hawai’i, Japan and throughout the States. Known as the “The Samoan Bulldozer” and “The Samoan Savage”, he returned to the WWE in 2005 under the name “Umaga” and went undefeated for many months.
As Umaga – named after the final and most painful part of the Samoan tattooing process, meaning “the end”, he was depicted as a destructive savage who could only be controlled by his manager.
But it wasn’t entirely an act. Fatu was destructive. In the summer of 2009, Fatu was released from his WWE contract. He had been found to have purchased pharmaceuticals from an online pharmacy, a violation of WWE’s “Talent Wellness” program. Fatu specifically was said to have received somatropin, a growth hormone, twice in 2006, and again in 2009. Due to his unwillingness to seek rehabilitation, Fatu was released from his WWE contract.
On December 4th, Fatu, who just returned from an Australian tour with Hulk Hogan, was found by his wife sitting in front of the TV in his Texas home with blood dripping from his nose in the early hours of the morning. He had had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital.
Umaga was a hard man to beat in the ring, but by morning a second heart attack finally pinned him.