WWE rallies around Roman Reigns after leukaemia announcement
There were emotional scenes at Monday Night Raw as one of wrestling’s biggest stars, Roman Reigns, announced he has leukaemia.
The 33-year-old former NFL player, whose real name is Leati Joseph Anoa’i, told a stunned crowd at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, that he would be relinquishing the Universal Championship title while he receives treatment for the illness.
He said: “My name is Joe and I’ve been living with leukaemia for 11 years and unfortunately it’s back.
“I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m going to have to relinquish the Universal Championship.”
Reigns received support from across the wrestling world.
WWE also released a clip of the support Reigns received backstage after making his announcement.
Reigns concluded his speech to the crowd by saying: “I want to make one thing clear: by no means is this a retirement speech. Because after I’m done whooping leukaemia’s ass once again I’m coming back home.”
He added: “I will beat this and I will be back so you will see me very, very soon.”
He left the arena to chants of “thank you Roman”, which soon became a trending hashtag on Twitter.
Reigns has been one of wrestling’s biggest stars over the past few years, claiming the WWE World Heavyweight Championship three times.