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Perro Aguayo Jr.'s cause of death confirmed as cardiac arrest caused by cervical spine trauma

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The doctor of the Tijuana Wrestling Commission, Ernesto Franco, has claimed that Perro Aguayo Jr. died after suffering a cardiac arrest triggered by cervical spine trauma and has rebuffed criticism that Perro had received poor care at his hands.

RIP Perro Aguayo Jr.
RIP Perro Aguayo Jr.
ProWrestlingWikia.com

In an update to our lead story about the death of AAA main eventer Perro Aguayo Jr. (real name: Pedro Aguayo Ramírez), more details have surfaced about the circumstances behind the tragedy in an article by Mexican website MedioTiempo.com which includes quotes that Ernesto Franco, the doctor of the Tijuana Wrestling Commission, had made to the national newspaper El Mexicano.

Franco stated that Aguayo died after suffering a stroke in the cervical region and that all attempts made over the next hour to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. A postmortem MRI was conducted that confirmed that the cause of death was due to cervical spine trauma.

In response to social media criticism that Aguayo had received poor care because the match wasn't immediately stopped and it took a couple of minutes for him to be attended to by a physician, Franco explained that was due to him being in the locker room treating two other wrestlers for injuries when the accident occurred and he gave the incident his immediate attention once he became aware of the situation.

Franco also claimed that the reason why Aguayo was carried out on a piece of plywood was because it was there at hand and they wanted to get him backstage as quickly as possible, where they switched him onto a stretcher to carry him into a waiting ambulance.

The President of the Tijuana Wrestling Commission, Juan Carlos Pelayo, has reacted to Perro Aguayo Jr.'s death by calling it an unfortunate accident that could have happened in any other sport. However, according to Kris Zellner, he also called for the national regulation of Lucha Libre due to the high risk nature of the sport, feeling that it should be treated more like boxing is in the country.

In a subsequent press conference, Pelayo insisted that there had been no negligence in the death of Pedro Aguayo Ramírez. In particular, he noted that The Crash promotion had submitted all the appropriate paperwork to the commission before the event occurred and that they had in place the two ambulances, five paramedics, first-aid post and the on-duty doctor required for insurance purposes.

At the press conference, promoter Ignacio Delgado revealed that Perro Aguayo Sr. had not yet been informed about the death of his son because he is not in good health. The Luchablog notes that "there has been a consistent rumor for months that Perro Aguayo Sr. is in bad physical and especially mental shape, and this would be the first time someone’s acknowledged the situation publicly."

The commission has also issued a detailed timeline of events where they claim a doctor arrived within 80 seconds of the accident taking place, that Ramírez arrived at the local Hospital del Prado within six minutes and was pronounced dead after 61 minutes. Unlike prior reports, here the cause of death was attributed to a cardiac arrest, although if that was the case, then clearly the heart attack would have been caused by the cervical spinal cord injury he suffered earlier.

It is unlikely that faster treatment could have saved Aguayo's life. Gerardo Meraz, a medical analyst for ESPN Deportes, believes that he died instantly from a broken neck when he fell badly from a dropkick by Misterio into the ring ropes and his neck whiplashed back and forth. If that was the case, then Aguayo's death would be eerily similar to Mitsuharu Misawa's death almost six years ago where he was internally decapitated when he took a bad bump from a dangerous backdrop suplex in a major NOAH match. It was soon revealed that Misawa had suffered tremendous neck damage during his career, but he never had his neck checked out by a specialist, which might have revealed that he needed to retire for his own safety. However, it is unknown whether Aguayo had any previous neck injuries that would make him more vulnerable to further injury in the future.

Nonetheless, the State Attorney's Office has initiated a preliminary investigation into Ramírez's death. This will involve an independent autopsy and toxicology report being done to verify the cause of death and the wrestlers who were involved in the match he died in, Rey Misterio Jr., Manik and Extreme Tiger, being called to testify to ascertain what actually happened.

In the process of writing this story, MedioTiempo.com has published a new story on Aguayo's death where they confirm that Aguayo did indeed die of a cardiac arrest in the hospital that was likely triggered by the spinal stroke he had suffered earlier. Ernesto Franco has insisted that he didn't die in the ring or on the way to the hospital arguing that although his vital signs and reflexes were much diminished, they still existed.

Although the Mexican wrestling community disagrees over the handling of the accident, they have been unified in their outpouring of grief with lucha legends like El Hijo Del Santo and Octagon, sportscasters like Arturo Rivera and Dr. Alfonso Morales, and AAA's current top stars like Alberto El Patrón and Rey Misterio Jr. all offering their condolences on Twitter.

Misterio's tweets were in Spanish and loosely translated said:

"A friendship of brothers began years ago and we should not question why God's plan was formed. But on this occasion I wonder why and I do not understand. I miss you and I will take [that] with me [for] the rest of my life, rest in peace Hijo Del Perro Aguayo. With all due respect to the word, my deepest condolences to Aguayo's family, I will pray to God to fill in with strength and resignation to overcome this great loss! God Bless, and to fill us in strength!

I had the privilege to share a ring for the first time with Son Del Perro Aguayo in his debut as a professional wrestler & an honor to be in the ring with this great legend for the last time! You will be missed RIP :: Dog Perro Aguayo Jr."

On a sourer note, AYM Sports, the broadcaster who airs AAA's iPPVs sent out an email today with a link to a story about Aguayo's death reminding fans that they could still pay to see his Rey De Reyes main event match on VOD.

For people who would like to know more about Perro Aguayo Jr.'s career, I'd recommend reading Kris Zellner's excellent obituary that he posted on the Death Valley Driver message board earlier today.