Chief Jay Strongbow – Hospitalized after fall, never recovered
1928-2012 (age 83)
When Luke Scarpa stepped into the wrestling ring, everyone noticed. It was impossible not to, as the feathered war bonnet that he donned to play the role of Chief Jay Strongbow was easy to spot. His larger than life persona as a Native American wrestler ran from 1947 to 1985. Strongbow enjoyed a successful career and even after his retirement, remained connected to professional wrestling.
Health Problems End Chief Jay Strongbow’s Career
In 1985, Chief Jay Strongbow’s career was still going well, but Luke Scarpa’s health was on the decline. He spoke later in life about the stress of his role as a supervisor backstage at WWF events. It’s likely that the stress contributed to the health problems that would start to set the Chief Jay Strongbow death story into motion more than 20 years before he died.
Chief Jay Strongbow suffered from a heart condition that required him to undergo surgery to have two heart valves replaced. When he received the news about his health, he made the decision to permanently separate from the WWF.
The Years Leading to the Chief Jay Strongbow Death Story
After retiring, Chief Jay Strongbow did his best to relax and take care of himself. He golfed and fished and lived a peaceful life on his farm in Griffin, Georgia. Still, he remained involved with wrestling. For a short period of time in 1994, he was involved with a WWF story line that had him serving as a mentor for a Native American wrestler named Tatanka. The story line didn’t pan out, but the wrestling world didn’t forget him.
In 2009, Chief Jay Strongbow was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Texas. He was well enough to appear at the event, but he was only able to give a brief speech due to his poor health.
In 2010, Scarpa attended a wrestling convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where reportedly he was tired and largely unable to interact both with friends and with fans. He was also admitted to the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011, but it seems he was not well enough to attend that event.
What’s Known About the Chief Jay Strongbow Death
Only sparse details about the death of Chief Jay Strongbow have been made known to the public. Apparently, the former professional wrestler fell sometime at the end of 2011 and had to be hospitalized. While he was able to be released from the hospital, he never really recovered from the incident. On April 3, 2012, he died in his home in Griffin, Georgia. He was 83 years old at the time.
Many people spoke fondly of Luke Scarpa after the news of his death was released. Friends and fans have left tributes about his time both in and out of the ring online on many websites. The former wrestler was laid to rest in Griffin, Georgia.
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