Pro wrestling fans almost lost one of the all-time greats.
Ric Flair, also known as “The Nature Boy,” has had a drinking problem for years.
His addiction exacerbated a visit to the hospital that resulted in surgery and an extended stay, but thankfully the Nature Boy might be out of the woods.
Flair’s condition took a turn for the worst when he was put in a medically-induced coma, but now he’s awake and responsive.
From the Chicago Tribune:
There have been few details about the nature of what exactly ails Ric “Nature Boy” Flair, but his manager tweeted Saturday that the former pro wrestler is “awake, communicating and progressing.”
In tweets and on Facebook, Melinda Morris Zanoni, CEO of Legacy Talent and Entertainment, said the 68-year-old has had “complications so [he] needs to rest for the first time in 40 years.”
Last weekend, Zanoni had initially said that Flair was hospitalized for routine monitoring, but she tweeted August 13 that he was facing “tough medical issues.”
However, on Sunday, she wrote on Facebook that “there has not been an official Ric Flair update, but that has led to a lot of false information. Don’t believe everything you read.”
He did cut a promo on a nurse yesterday so anyone that knows @RicFlairNatrBoy knows that’s a very, very good sign 😉
Zanoni went on to write: “On behalf of Ric THANK YOU for all the outpouring of prayers and well wishes (although the offers for a kidney seemed a little excessive) 🙂 The man outlived both a plane crash and being struck by lightening [sic]. . .he is a survivor. Beyond grateful for all the love and respect sent Ric’s way.”
Flair had surgery Monday, with both the WWE and Flair’s people providing few details. However, in a statement Thursday, his fiancee, Wendy Barlow, said that he had “multiple organ problems” and “still needs prayers.” She also said reports he had colon surgery — which appear to have originated on social media from longtime wrestling announcer Gene Okerlund — were incorrect.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso, however, Flair had part of his bowel removed, a problem exacerbated by his drinking problem. The surgery also “led to further complications, which could force a hospital stay of over a month,” Barrasso added.
“I had one vice,” Flair recently told SI. “I’m not going to point my finger at anybody else. My vice was drinking. I didn’t have any pain issues, addiction problems, marijuana, cocaine, nothing like that. It’s a fact that I kept myself up all night and always had a good time.”
Ric’s daughter Charlotte Flair, who followed in his footsteps and became a professional wrestler, gave an encouraging update on her father’s condition:
After an incredibly hard week, my dad is getting better. There is still a long road to go and he’s not out of the woods just yet but I want to again thank everyone for their support on behalf of myself and my family. My dad has given his life to sports entertainment. To everyone competing tonight, you know he’d be backstage watching if he could. Give it a little extra flair for him tonight. Woooo!
89.8k Likes, 3,264 Comments – Charlotte Flair (@charlottewwe) on Instagram: “After an incredibly hard week, my dad is getting better. There is still a long road to go and he’s…”
The award-winning documentary series 30 For 30, the best thing to come out of ESPN in well over a decade, made a Ric Flair episode that’s set to be released on November 7th.
Now that it appears Flair is on the road to recovery, the fall release date can be an exuberant celebration for wrestling fans instead of a somber memorial.