WWE star Roman Reigns, real name Joe Anoa’i, announced on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” television show that he has leukemia and will be taking a leave of absence from the company.
Reigns is the current WWE Universal champion.
In his speech announcing the news, Reigns said his real name was Joe, and that he had been living with leukemia for 11 years, since he was 22. He said he would take any prayers fans could send his way, but he was not giving up and vowed to be back.
Reigns said he was going to go home and focus on his family and health.
“I will beat this, and I will be back, so you will see me very, very soon.”
Reigns then placed the title belt in the ring and left. His teammates in The Shield, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, all hugged on the entrance ramp, with Ambrose and Rollins in tears.
WWE released a statement after Reigns’ announcement that said, “Tonight on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns [aka Joe Anoa’i] announced that he is relinquishing the WWE Universal Championship and taking a leave of absence from WWE as he once again fights leukemia, which had been in remission since late 2008. 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.”