Friday, March 19, 2010

Eddie "Umaga" Fatu Autopsy: 406 Pounds, Enlarged Heart

I have uploaded a facsimile of the Houston coroner’s autopsy report on Edward S. “Umaga” Fatu, the ex-World Wrestling Entertainment performer who died of a heart attack in December at age 36. See

The experts may find things I miss in my first layman’s reading. What jumps out at me is that Fatu – who was six feet, six inches tall and weighed 406 pounds at death – had hypertensive cardiovascular disease and “hypertrophy”: an enlarged heart. (I earlier broke the story that the cause of death was a toxic cocktail of prescription painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety drugs.)

The WWE website says the following about the “Cardiosvascular and Monitoring” component of the company Wellness Program:

“All WWE talent undergo an extensive cardiovascular stress test before they are offered a contract by WWE, and subsequently tested at least biennially while under contract (more frequently as and when circumstances warrant). Dr. Bryan Donohue, Division Chief of Cardiology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside Hospital, and Senior Partner at Donohue Cardiology Associates, administers WWE’s cardiovascular testing and monitoring program.”

Fatu was fired by WWE in June 2009 for refusing to go to drug rehab. In the Wellness Policy’s “three strikes” progression of discipline for drug violations, he had one strike, for having been a customer of the gray-market Internet dealer Signature Pharmacy.

At the time of his death, he was negotiating his return to WWE.

It is an understatement to say that the circumstances of Fatu’s death raise anew questions about both the efficacy and the transparency of a program often cited by Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the former CEO of WWE.

Irv Muchnick

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