Former WWE Tag Team Champion Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i has unfortunately passed away at the age of 47, and the cause of death has been discussed. Based on various reports, Anoa’i has been dealing with heart issues for a number of years, and it looks to be the main contributor to his untimely death. Wrestling News Source reported in 2014 that he was taken to the hospital as a result of developing early stages of congestive heart failure and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. His heart was enlarged and only functioning at about 25 percent. The report also stated that doctors drained about 60 pounds of fluid and were looking to drain an additional 30 pounds before releasing him.
There has been a swarm of heartfelt responses from many people in the professional wrestling community regarding his passing. His former WWE Tag Team Championship partner, Gregory Shane Helms, explained that “Heart wrenching phone calls are not the way to start a day. Tell your loved ones you love them. Let them know!” Former ECW World Champion Tommy Dreamer stated that he remembered him from his days as a member of the Samoan Gangster Party and that he was a great human being.
Despite all of the kind support, his uncle, WWE Hall of Famer Afa of the legendary Wild Samoans tag team, advised people to uphold the privacy of the family during this difficult time.
“The Anoai family is mourning the loss of Sika’s son Matt aka Rosey due to an untimely death. We want to let his fans know that he loved them so much and the wrestling world. In his passing he left three beautiful young children and a heartbroken family. Please respect the privacy of his children and family as they mourn the loss of this kind, loving, gentle man who was a father, son, brother and a superhero to us all. Our family appreciates your prayers and continued support during this very difficult time.”
As Dreamer explained, Matt became popular during his stint in ECW as a member of the Samoan Gangster Party. This momentum led him into teaming with his cousin Eddie Fatu (then-known as Jamal, who would later become Umaga and win the WWE Intercontinental Championship) as Eric Bischoff’s henchman, 3-Minute Warning. There were some issues with Jamal that led to his departure in 2003, which left Rosey without a direction. In a 2016 interview with the Pancakes and Powerslams Show, Rosey explained how he was considered to start a Shield-like faction with his brother when they were about to reunite as a WWE tag team.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but whenever me and my cousin, when Eddie [Fatu] came back, the original thought was, we were going to be The Shield. [Triple H] let us know, ‘Alright. Go out and buy you some black S.W.A.T Team stuff.’ And we did it. Either or, it didn’t work out. Obviously, Jamal moved on to do the Umaga thing and I went on to do my thing.”
Matt would become the “Super Hero In Training” and experience championship gold by teaming with “The Hurricane” Shane Helms. Although he admitted that he did not want to do the character, he came to the realization that it could sell a great deal of merchandise for the kids. Once he received this pep-talk from Vince McMahon, he was in.
On the recent episode of SmackDown Live, WWE gave a salute to Matt Anoa’i in the beginning of the show. While Afa, understandably, requested the privacy of his family during this time of mourning, they most likely were happy about the noble gesture WWE did for Matt on the show.
[Featured Image by WWE]