Three times WWE Champion, Roman Reigns, official name being, Leati Joseph Anoaʻi, has announced he will be stepping away from wrestling to focus on fighting leukemia.
Reigns, a former football player announced on Monday that he had been dealing with cancer for 11 years and that it had returned.
This unfortunate announcement means he will be relinquishing his WWE’s Universal Championship as he focuses on healing.
‘When I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with this. And very quickly I was able to put it in remission. But I’m not going to lie, that was the hardest time in my life. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a home and I had a baby on the way,’ Reigns said in an emotional speech Monday in Rhode Island to kick off WWE’s Monday Night Raw program.
He thanked the WWE for giving him a chance after his football career had ended.
I want to make one thing clear — by no means is this a retirement speech,’ Reigns said. ‘I will beat this and I will be back, so you will see me very very soon.’
The crowd cheered and chanted ‘Roman, Roman’ as he placed his Universal Title belt on the floor and left the ring.
Some of the biggest names in wrestling offered their support.
‘You have given us your everything including a courageously vulnerable moment. We, your WWE family, give you all of our love and support,’ John Cena tweeted.
‘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 also tweeted video of fellow wrestlers offering hugs and words of encouragement for Reigns after his speech
My drawing 4 yrs back 😍🙏
My dear @WWERomanReigns Give a superman punch to #leukaemia cancer and come back again🙏🏻am eagerly waiting🙌🏻every1 said u got much more push as a baby face 🤴🏻but today entire wrestling fans knows ur value and finally they realized😎 #Roman reigns pic.twitter.com/upLh336dtt
— HoiLachu (@Lachu205) October 23, 2018
— Bella🆒🇰🇪 (@Anabell58649080) October 23, 2018
— Baibhav (@Baibhav82862471) October 24, 2018
He tweeted his appreciation of the love and support he has received since his diagnosis was announced.
Thank you to everyone who’s reached out…I can’t put into words what it means to me.
Your energy and positivity motivate me to get better quickly to get back in the ring, but for now I’m going to spend time with my family and focus on health.
Thank you – Joe/Roman
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) October 23, 2018