WWE star Roman Reigns has announced he’s in remission from leukemia.
The 33-year-old, whose real name is Joe Anoaʻi, revealed he had cancer in October during a live episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. He said he was first diagnosed with the disease 11 years ago, having been in remission while rising to the top of the WWE.
Addressing his fans, the wrestler said at the time:
I feel like I owe everyone an apology.
For months, maybe even a whole year, I’ve come out here as Roman Reigns and said I’d come out here every week, that I’d be a fighting champion, that I was going to be consistent, that I was going to be a workhorse – but that’s all lies.
It’s a lie because the reality is, my real name is Joe and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years and unfortunately it’s back.
And because the leukemia is back I cannot fulfill my role, I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m going to have to relinquish my Universal Championship.
As a result of his diagnosis, Reigns stepped away from the ring as well as relinquishing the universal title.
On Monday (February 25), however, the WWE star returned to Raw to update the audience with his good news, where he was met with cheering fans and chants of ‘welcome back’:
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2019
The 33-year-old thanked the audience for their support, and continued:
I said I was going to swing for the fences. We did better than that, y’all. We didn’t just swing for the fences. We hit a home run. So when I tell you this, I’m so grateful and so humbled and so honored to announce this.
The good news is, I’m in remission, y’all.
So with that being said, the Big Dog is back!
Reigns admitted that while winning and chasing WWE titles was still important, he hoped to use the platform to raise awareness about cancer and ‘support those who are in need just like [he] was’.
The wrestler didn’t confirm exactly when he’d be returning to the ring, and when fans called out about Wrestlemania he promised he’d ‘get to that later’.
Reigns called the response ‘overwhelming’, and thanked his wife, children and everyone else who sent their support and prayers:
Reigns can be assured his fans will be by his side every step of the way as he works his way back into the ring – what incredible news!
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.