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Legendary Mexican Wrestler La Parka Has Died And Social Media Is Mourning A Lucha Libre Icon

Wresting or lucha libre is a cornerstone of Mexican popular culture. The ring is a symbolic battlefield where issues such as morals (good vs evil, rudos contra tecnicos!), gender identity, sexuality and class are solved through punches, kicks, voladoras and plenty of melodrama. Legends such as El Santo, Blue Demon and Tinieblas have become important icons in Mexico and overseas, and lucha libre remains a multi-million dollar business. Luchadores come out of every corner of Mexico and often travel as far as Japan to showcase their athletic prowess and histrionic skills.

So when a beloved luchador passes away thousands, if not millions, of fans mourn him or her, remembering all the high drama that they gifted us. So when news broke that popular wrestler La Parka passed away, many were left brokenhearted. 

La Parka, aged only 54, died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring.

His real name was Jesús Alfonso Huerta Escoboza and he was a force of nature full of charisma. He adopted a ring persona that resonates with millions of Mexicans: he personified Death itself, with whom Mexicans have a peculiar relationship that verges on the religious. La Parka reminded us of the religious figure of La Santa Muerte, patron saint of many in the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

La Parka sustained injuries in the ring back in October 2019 and these injuries ultimately led to his untimely death. The fall was horrific, as TMZ reminds us: “La Parka — aka Jesus Alfonso Escoboza Huerta — did a leaping dive through the ropes at an opponent in Monterey, Mexico … but tragically hit his head on a guard rail before falling to the ground.”

La Parka was born in the northern city of Hermosillo in the state of Sonora. He had a long and successful career, as CNN reports: “He won titles including the Triplemanía Cup and Antonio Peña Cup. He was also the top winner of King of Kings, an annual tournament produced by Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.” Rest in peace, legend! 

There needs to be a serious discussion about combat sports and potentially deadly injuries.

Credit: Wrestler Deaths

His kidneys failed. He was put on assisted breathing when he started presenting issues, and he died the next day when his lungs and kidneys failed. The wrestling association for which he worked, Lucha Libre, AAA said on Twitter.  “We are very sad to report that our friend and idol of Mexican wrestling Jesús Alfonso Escoboza Huerta ‘LA PARKA’ has passed away. We extend our support and condolences to his whole family and raise our prayers so that they may soon heal from this.”

There are some who think that wrestling is not dangerous, but fighters often end up disabled in their old age or, as in the case of La Parka, die as a result of injuries sustained in the ring. There has to be some serious debate around the risks involved in professional wrestling and in other contact sports such as boxing. It is a long, difficult conversation that needs to be had sooner rather than later.

Wrestler Latin Lover, who retired while still in good health, released a social media message lamenting his friend’s passing and saying that he left wrestling to avoid a similar fate: “They don’t know how it hits me that this happened, so I retired, so I wouldn’t end up dead. I quit that job because the only way I could be home was to be hurt.” Professional luchadores often fight well into their 50s even though reflexes deteriorate, which can lead to fatal injuries. Lucha libre is like a well-coordinated dance with the only difference that a misstep can leave you disabled for life or even dead. 

People are sharing their memories of him.

Thousands of fans enjoyed his work inside the ring for more than three decades, so whole generations saw his evil antics and funny moves unfold. He was one of those luchadores that people love to hate. 

And even pictures of his actual face, which was hidden under the now iconic mask.

Wow, he looked totally badass even without his mask on. He was a sort of rock and roll cowboy biker dude kinda guy! This photo was released by his family by mistake, but now fans are using it to honor the man who dared to become Death.

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