If you traded wrestling tapes in America or played plenty of THQ wrestling games in the mid to late ’90s then you know of Hayabusa. Hayabusa, along with Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Ultimo Dragon and The Great Muta were among the early characters of Japanese professional wrestling.

An innovative high flyer, Hayabusa (or Hannibal for you WCW vs. NWO World Tour and Han Zo Mon for the WCW/nWo Revenge fanatics) was responsible for the creation of the Falcon Arrow, the Phoenix Splash and became one of the more influential junior heavyweight wrestlers around the globe. Tragically, Hayabusa (real name Eiji Ezaki) has passed away. He was 47. The news was confirmed by Toyko Sports.

According to the Toyko Sports report, Hayabusa was found Thursday from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding of the brain. Back in 2001, Hayabusa’s in-ring career came to an abrupt end when he fractured two vertebrae in his neck attempting a springboard moonsault resulting in his paralysis from the waist down. He was confined to a wheelchair for more than a decade and steadily rehabbed in an attempt to not let his injury define the latter part of his life. Just last year, he walked to the ring without assistance for the first time since the accident.

In the 1990s, Hayabusa was a stud, establishing the Hayabusa gimmick while working in Mexico along other masked acts such as the luchadors and in particular, one Rey Mysterio, Jr. Twice he battled Jushin “Thunder” Liger in NJPW’s Super J Cup, falling in the first round on both occasions in 1994 & 1995. His high flying ability coupled with his death matches in Japan made him a crowd favorite and made him the heart and soul of Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling. He wrestled all over the world including stints in the WWA, Triple A, CMLL and ECW where he unsuccessfully attempted to win the ECW Tag Team Titles from Rob Van Dam & Sabu.

Wrestlers from all over the globe, especially junior heavies such as Will Ospreay and the well traveled such as Samoa Joe have expressed their condolences to the legend.