WWE Superstar Roman Reigns Reveals Battle With Leukemia
In one of the most real and shocking moments in WWE history, Roman Reigns kicked off Monday Night Raw this week revealing he is battling leukemia.
The 33-year-old told a floored crowd that he was first diagnosed with the cancer at age 22. Reigns, real name Joseph Anoaʻi, recalled the dark period where his football career was no more, a child on the way and no job or money. Reigns’ leukemia was in in remission until 2008.
The cousin of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson expressed gratitude to WWE for giving him what would become a golden opportunity, as well as the fans for reacting to him no matter if it was cheers or boos. The main event performer then relinquished the Universal championship with intentions to go home to fight leukemia and be with his family.
However, Reigns stressed it was not a retirement speech. “Thank You Roman” chants rang through Providence, RI. Fellow Shield members Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose met him at the entrance ramp for a group embrace. Tears in their eyes, the trio each put a fist in the center in an act of solidarity.
Reigns is a multi-time champion, WrestleMania headliner and one of the top names in WWE. He was scheduled to defend the Universal champion against Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel on November 2. It will now be a singles match.
Many of his coworkers and pro wrestling legends took to social media to show their support for Reigns.
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”I want to show my family, my friends, my children and my wife that when life throws a curveball at me, I am the type of man that will stand in that batter’s box, I will crowd the plate, I will choke up and I will swing for the fences every single time!” [email protected] #ThankYouRoman for being a true Champion and a beacon of light, hope and courage for us all.
.@WWERomanReigns The power of the Big Dog is in the heart. The hulkamaniacs, the #wweuniverse and I stand with you. We pray for you and we’ll all be waiting for you to hurry back in good health. Gods got you. Only Love HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) October 23, 2018
— Renee Young (@ReneeYoungWWE) October 23, 2018
Fight on to victory my courageous brother! pic.twitter.com/wuYAoxa48p
— Bret Hart (@BretHart) October 23, 2018
— The Usos (@WWEUsos) October 23, 2018
‘Courage – strength in the face of pain or grief.’ You have given us your everything including a courageously vulnerable moment. We, your WWE family, give you all of our love and support. #ThankYouRoman #NeverGiveUp
— John Cena (@JohnCena) October 23, 2018
WWE released a statement regarding his upcoming leave of absence saying, “Reigns is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease.”