After the wrestling world was sent into shock over the passing of Japanese wrestling legend Tomomi “Jumbo” Tsuruta last week, more details and facts about his death are coming to light as well as plans for a public memorial.
Tsuruta’s family and All Japan Pro Wrestling, the organization Tsuruta wrestled for close to 26 years, are planning a public ceremony for his fans on June 18th in Japan.
Tsuruta was a patient at the Philippines National Kidney Institute in Manilla, when he died from hypo-volemic shock (shock of losing blood) during a liver transplant operation. Tsuruta was on the operating table for an astonishing 16 hours. The liver donor, a teenaged male, was shot dead in a gun accident.
Because of the archaic nature of transplant laws in Japan, Tsuruta travelled to Brisbane, Australia and then to Manilla in hope of finding a donor. Tsuruta and his family were living in Portland, Oregon at the time where he was a visiting professor and guest lecturer in the field of health and sports science at Portland State University.
Tsuruta was reported to have lost over 70% of his blood during the operation performed by Enrique Onar, M.D. Tsuruta died on Saturday, May 13 at 4:00 p.m. Manilla-time. He was 49.
Tsuruta’s body was brought back to Japan by his wife, Yasuko (42), and their three sons, Yuji (14), Ken (8) and Naoki (5) on Tuesday May 17 in preparation for a private, family funeral.
North American fans interested in sending a letter or card of condolence and sympathy to the Tsuruta family can send it to the following address:
Ms. Yasuko Tsuruta, Sons Yuji, Ken and Naoki
C/O Steve Nakada, Japan-US Sports Federation
607 E. Palm Av., Suite #C, Burbank, California 91501