UPDATE: As noted, Japanese wrestling legend Hayabusa (Eiji Ezaki) passed away on Thursday afternoon at the age of 47. Tokyo Sports reports that Hayabusa was found dead after some form of hemorrhaging.
WWE issued the following statement on his passing:
WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of Eiji Ezaki, better known to fans around the world as Hayabusa, at the age of 47.
An innovative high-flyer who helped inspire a generation of Superstars, the mysterious, masked Hayabusa was known for throwing caution to the wind. Ezaki created daring moves like the Phoenix Splash, which to this day can be seen in the repertoire of daredevil competitors, including former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. A major star in Japan in the mid to late ’90s, Hayabusa competed in one major American match, teaming with Jinsei Shinzaki (known as Hakushi in WWE) in a losing effort against Sabu & Rob Van Dam at ECW’s Heat Wave 1998 event. Although his career was cut short by injury in 2001, Ezaki never strayed far from the industry, where he continued to impart his knowledge.
ORIGINAL: The wrestling world has lost another legend. Tokyo Sports reports that Eiji Ezaki, aka FMW alum Hayabusa, was found dead yesterday due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was forty-seven years old.
Hayabusa is best known for his work in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, the hardcore-themed promotion that was founded by Atsushi Onita in 1986. Ezaki trained in the FMW Dojo and made his professional debut on July 19th, 1991. He became known as a major star in the making after his match with Jushin Liger at the New Japan Super J Cup 1994 tournament and became renowned for his high-flying skills that proved deeply influential on the wrestling world at large.
Ezaki worked in the United States and Mexico from 1993 to 1995 before returning to FMW in and became the promotion’s central star and had several title reigns, both singles and tag team. He teamed with Jinsei Shinzaki to take on Sabu and Rob Van Dam at ECW Heat Wave ’98.
Ezaki’s wrestling career came to an end in October of 2001 when he was wrestling Mammoth Sasaki and slipped on the rope while attempting a springboard moonsault. He landed on his head and was paralyzed. After his retirement, FMW lost steam and eventually folded. Ezaki had a career as a singer and appeared at several wrestling events over the years, including work with Dragon Gate in the late ’00s.
Last year Ezaki was able to stand and walk to the ring under his own power, and received a ceremonial 10 count. He also reopened FMW with Hideki Takahashi and Choden Senshi Battle Ranger, serving as president.
On behalf of everyone here on the website, we send our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Mr. Ezaki. He will be missed.