Former WWE performer Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i, an older brother to Roman Reigns and son of Sika of the Wild Samoans, has died, WWE confirmed. He was 47.
A cause of death has not been released, but he had been hospitalized in 2014 with heart disease.
Anoa’i was trained by his uncles and wrestled in numerous independent promotions before signing with WWE in 2002. He was introduced as a member of “3 Minute Warning” with a cousin who took the ring name Jamal as enforcers for Eric Bischoff, then the RAW general manager.
After Jamal was released, Anoa’i donned a superhero mask and teamed with “Hurricane” Shane Helms and was known as a “Super Hero In Training” during the Attitude Era. The duo won the world tag team titles. Jamal, whose real name is Eddie Fatu, later returned to WWE as Umaga.
Helms posted this on Instagram:
The family released a statement Tuesday:
"The Anoa’i 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 and the wrestling world so much. 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."
Anoa’i, who wrestled at nearly 400 pounds, was released in 2006 and returned to the independent scene, appearing for various promotions, including ones owned by his family. He also was part of a number of business ventures, including owning a Samoan restaurant in Cincinnati, where he lived.
As a youngster, Anoa’i played high school football in Florida and later earned a scholarships to the University of Hawaii. After football, he worked as a bouncer in New Orleans before deciding to get into the family business.
“I sat there one night and was looking at the bartender,” Matt told WWE.com in 2012. “He was probably in his 60s. It just dawned on me that I needed to get out of this town and pursue a career. Wrestling became the glove that fit.”
He is survived by his wife and two children.
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