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October 10, 2022 Observer Newsletter: The life and times of Antonio Inoki

Dave Meltzer looks back at the amazing life of the Japanese icon.

Antonio Inoki, very likely the single most influential person in the pro wrestling business aside from Vince McMahon over the past 50 years, passed away on 10/1 due to heart failure at the age of 79.

Due to the time difference, the news broke in the U.S. on 9/30. Inoki was 79.

His death was not unexpected. There had been a few network television shows this year focusing on him and his health issues. He had been suffering from a rare disease, systemic transthyretin amyloidosis.

Systemic transthyretin amyloidosis occurs when your liver produces faulty transthyretin proteins. Clumps of these abnormal proteins, called fibrils, build up in the heart’s main pumping chamber. This leads to the left heart ventricle becoming stiff and weak. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to your body and can lead to heart failure.

He had been wheelchair bound for some time. His condition worsened of late and on a recent network television show appearance, he was so frail, looking like he may have weighed around 100 pounds and the one-time ageless star who in his late 50s still had the jet black hair and fit athletic body, looked like he would pass away very soon.

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