Roman Reigns announced he has leukaemia
Reigns opened up about how he was diagnosed with the terrible disease when he was 22 years old at a time when his football career had come to an end and he was unemployed, had no money, no home and had a baby on the way.
The Big Dog managed to put it in remission very quickly but announced on RAW at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island that the cancer is back.
The four-time world champion made it perfectly clear that this is not a retirement speech as he is determined to beat leukaemia once more and come back stronger than ever.
Reigns said: “The reality is my real name is Joe [Anoaʻi] and I’d been living with leukaemia for 11 years… And unfortunately it’s back.
The reality is my real name is Joe [Anoaʻi] and I’d been living with leukaemia for 11 years… And unfortunately it’s back
“And because the leukaemia is back, I cannot fulfil my role. I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m going to have to relinquish the Universal Championship.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ll take every prayer you can send my way but I’m not looking for sympathy.
“I’m not looking for you to feel bad for me because I have faith.
“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 of my life.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins showed their support to their Shield team-mate Roman Reigns
“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. And football was done with me.
“But do you know who gave me a chance? The team that gave me a chance was the WWE.
“After I’m done whooping leukaemia’s a** once again, I’m coming back home.”
Roman Reigns has beaten leukaemia before
Various WWE superstars and legends immediately reached out to Reigns and expressed their love and support after his shocking announcement.
The ex-WWE Champion’s Shield team-mates Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose came out and struck their famous signature fist bump pose with their brother in arms.
Many other fellow WWE superstars took to Twitter, such as five-time women’s champion Alexa Bliss who tweeted: “My heart right now …. Prayers for @WWERomanReigns.”
Two-time women’s champion Natalya also sent her prayers as she posted: ” THANKYOU, @WWERomanReigns. Praying for you and your family.”
Former RAW Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson described how heartbroken he was to hear the news when he was ready to board a plane to Newark.
Anderson wrote: ” About to board my flight to Newark and hearing news about my #Godbrother and one of the hardest working, strongest brothers I know @WWERomanReigns, got a pit in my stomach. My family throwing so many prayers at you.. Love you bro.”
Reigns’ cousins and five-time tag team champions Jimmy and Jey Uso shared a picture of all three of them when they were kids and promised him they will always be there for him.
The Usos tweeted: “We been here for u, and will stay here for u. Day one uce. We love you.”
John Cena praised his former rival’s courage and promised that his family in the WWE will give him all of their love and support.
Cena stated: ” ‘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.”
Various WWE Hall of Famers also reached out to Reigns as 16-time world champion Ric Flair announced that he and his family are with him at this difficult time.
Flair tweeted: “My Family And I Are Thinking Of You And Are Keeping You In Our Prayers! We Are Here For You!”
Bret Hart shared a picture of him with The Big Dog and captioned it with: “Fight on to victory my courageous brother!”
Diamond Dallas Page and Booker expressed their respect and support for the Universal Champion’s courage.
Brock Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman addressed the Universal Championship situation on RAW and praised the 33-year-old grappler’s stunning bravery and greatness.
Heyman said: “It is humbling to be amongst the members of that locker room tonight and to have been in the presence of such courage and such greatness.”