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WWE superstar Roman Reigns (real name Leati Joseph Anoaʻi) addressed the crowd in the ring on Raw last night to announce that he is currently battling leukemia. Reigns explained that he was originally diagnosed 11 years ago, but that the disease had gone into remission.
Since it has now returned, he will be taking a leave of absence from WWE to get proper treatment. As a result, Reigns relinquished his Universal Championship title, leaving a vacancy for the belt.
Reigns told the shocked crowd that he has faith that he will bounce back from his illness like he did 11 years prior. He also said, “this is by no means a retirement speech, because once I’m done whooping leukemia’s ass, I’m coming back home!” and assured the WWE Universe that he’ll be back “very, very soon.”
As Reigns was about to leave, he was greeted by his Shield teammates Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. The three friends shed tears and shared a heartfelt hug as he left the arena.
In a press release, WWE said that Reigns ultimately decided to make his condition public “in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease.”
WWE also confirmed that the next Universal Champion will be determined in a match between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel in two weeks.