Ten years after his initial diagnosis of leukemia, WWE Champion Roman Reigns will walk away from the ring.
On Monday, the 33-year-old wrestler, born Joe Anoa'i, announced during an episode of WWE Raw that his cancer had returned and that he would be giving up his championship title and absenting himself from the sport.
"The reality is that my name is Joe and I have been living with leukemia for 11 years and, unfortunately, he has returned," he said with tears in his eyes. "Because the leukemia is back, I can not fulfill my role, I can not be that fight champion and I'm going to have to give up the universal championship."
"I'm not going to lie, I'll take all the prayers you can send me, but I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm not looking for you to feel bad for me because I have faith," he continued.
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The star was first diagnosed with cancer in 2008 when he was 22 and explained to the crowd in Providence, Rhode Island, that the fighting community helped him overcome that difficult period of his life.
"Very quickly, I could put it in remission, but I'm not going to lie: that was the most difficult moment of my life." I had no job, I had no money, I had no home and I had a baby on my way, and football ended with me "
"But you want to know who gave me the opportunity? The team that gave me the opportunity was the WWE," he continued.
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When he finished his speech, the wrestler explained that, although he was giving up the title to focus on his family and his health, he was confident that he would return to the ring.
"This is not in any way a retirement speech," he said. "I'm going to get over this, and I'll be back, so you'll see me very, very soon."
After the emotional announcement, the WWE Universe. He thanked the professional wrestler for his time on Twitter., while WWE echoed his previous comments.
"DO NOT call it a retirement speech. @WWERomanReigns will beat this, and we'll see it again VERY, VERY SOON! #RAW" wrestling organization wrote On twitter.
Fellow wrestlers in the WWE community also shared great support in social media for the three-time world champion, with #ThankYouRoman starting the trend.
"@WWERomanReigns My family and I are thinking about you and we keep you in our prayers! We are here for you," he wrote former WWE wrestler Ric Flair.
"THANKS, @WWERomanReigns", added wrestler Natalya "Nattie" Neidhart. "Praying for you and your family."
Canadian wrestler Kevin Owens praised the fighter for being "one of the best" Both inside and outside the ring.
"Roman is one of the best I've been in the ring with and one of the guys that I respect and admire the most in this industry," he said. "My thoughts are with him and his family. I can not wait to see him get over this and be able to share a wardrobe with him soon. #Thanks YouRoman "
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WWE wrestler Johnny Gargano also Tribute to his friend and his heroic story., referring to the WWE star as a "superhero."
"Our work gives us the ability to represent characters larger than life who possess superhuman qualities and characteristics," he wrote. "After hearing his story, it is very evident that Joe Anoa'i is as superhero as he is & # 39; Roman Reigns & # 39 ;. #Thanks YouRoman"