Former WWE wrestler “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka may be terminally ill, and may only have less than six months to live, but he isn’t necessarily suffering from terminal cancer. That’s what a Lehigh Valley Live reporter clarified on Friday afternoon, as multiple news sources reported that his stomach cancer had become terminal, even if there was no mention of cancer in the publication’s report.
A legendary performer in the world of professional wrestling whose intense, high-flying style made him one of the then-WWF’s top wrestlers of the 1980s, Jimmy Snuka influenced a lot of would-be WWE Superstars with his epic feud against Don Muraco. Mick Foley, for instance, had brought up Snuka and Muraco’s 1983 steel cage match at Madison Square Garden as the match that had inspired him to become a professional wrestler. But it was also that year when “Superfly” was named a person of interest in the mysterious death of his then-girlfriend, 23-year-old Nancy Argentino.
Nancy Argentino was pronounced dead on May 11, 1983, dying from traumatic brain injuries that the Allentown Morning Call described in a 2015 report as “consistent with a moving head striking a stationary object.” Autopsy findings on Argentino indicated that she had suffered “more than two dozen” cuts and bruises that hinted at the possibility of “mate abuse,” and investigators had suspected foul play in the young woman’s death.
While Jimmy Snuka was named as the only person of interest in the Argentino case, he was only questioned at the time of her death, but never charged. The Morning Call cited old police interviews with the wrestler, where he had given varying statements to authorities on how his girlfriend had died.
“Snuka originally told at least five people, including the responding police officer, he shoved Argentino, causing her to fall and hit her head … He later told police he was misunderstood and Argentino slipped and hit her head when they stopped along the highway to go to the bathroom.”
Thirty-two years after Nancy Argentino’s untimely death, Jimmy Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in September 2015. He had pleaded not guilty on the charges, and in June 2016, he was ruled as not being mentally competent to stand trial, with his dementia playing a key role in Judge Kelly Banach’s decision.
As attorneys convened for Banach’s review of whether the wrestling legend is competent to stand trial or not, it was revealed by his lawyer that Snuka had been hospitalized on Monday after suffering from “psychosis and hallucinations” due to a series of infections.
Lehigh Valley Live cited defense attorney Robert Kirwan, who added that Snuka’s doctors informed him that he may die within the next six months if his health keeps deteriorating. Prosecutors were also told that the wrestler is “terminal,” and several publications, including TMZ, had cited the Lehigh Valley Live report and written that Jimmy Snuka has terminal stomach cancer.
That, according to Lehigh Valley Live reporter Sarah Cassi, is not necessarily correct. In a tweet posted on Friday afternoon and shared by Wrestling Inc, she clarified that Jimmy Snuka is terminally ill, but that “nobody said it was terminal cancer,” contrary to what was reported by other publications.
Snuka was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2015, with an operation that summer “removing all the cancer from his stomach,” Bleacher Report wrote last year. There haven’t been any confirmed reports of the cancer returning.
To clarify, nobody said today it was terminal cancer- just that he's terminal. He's had other health issues since his last court date. https://t.co/RC806HGyvz— Sarah Cassi (@SarahCassi) December 2, 2016
Cassi’s report, however, does paint a sad picture of the 73-year-old Snuka, whose dementia has become so bad that he isn’t sure who won this year’s U.S. presidential elections. According to his wife Carole, Jimmy has also gotten to the point where he would think “he’s going wrestling” whenever he tries leaving the house, and gets angry and slips into “psychosis moods” when advised that he can’t.
“He wants to get in the car to go wrestle.”
Meanwhile, Banach has been quoted as saying she will dismiss the murder charges against Jimmy Snuka if he is proven to be at the “same mental capacity or worse” as compared to when she had made her original decision to rule him mentally incompetent to stand trial. She said Friday that she will be reviewing Snuka’s medical records from the last six months, and come up with a decision based on this data.
[Featured Image by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP Images]