UPDATE 8/14/17 3:00 p.m. ET: Following a confusing series of messages from Ric Flair's management over the weekend, it appears the wrestler is in pretty dire shape. TMZ has confirmed with reps for WWE that Flair is currently in a medically-induced coma, and is awaiting surgery for an unspecified issue.
According to initial reports from Pro Wrestling Sheet, Flair was experiencing heart-related issues.
See below for original story published on 8/13/17.
Thanks in part to some love shown by a younger generation of rappers, Ric Flair has seen a resurgence of popularity in the years since he retired from wrestling. But fans of all ages got a scare over the weekend after news got out that Flair had reportedly been hospitalized for heart trouble.
At first, it looked like Flair was going to pull through alright. A representative for Flair, Legacy Talent CEO Melinda Morris Zanoni, shared on her Twitter page that the 68-year-old former wrestler was doing alright, though she did confirm he had been hospitalized.
Yes,Ric in hosp 4routine monitoring.No reason2panic.Yes,many thx2his fiancé&hospstaff.No excuses Ric wld want u2go out 2nite NaturBoy style!— MelindaMorrisZanoni (@LegacyTalentCEO) August 13, 2017
In non-web speak, it translates as follows: "Yes, Ric checked into a hospital for routine monitoring, no reason to panic. Many thanks to his fiance, and hospital staff for providing care. No excuses—Ric would want you to go out tonight and enjoy yourself, Nature Boy style!"
But late Sunday night, Zanoni's tune had changed, and it sounds like Flair is in a lot worse shape than she was letting on.
Are u a Fan/Friend of Ric Flair?If so, we need prayers & positive energy 4 our Living Legend as he is dealing w/some tough medical issues🙏🏻— MelindaMorrisZanoni (@LegacyTalentCEO) August 14, 2017
Concern over Flair's health is not a new development and was even baked into wrestling storylines in the latter portion of Flair's career. During a 1998 WCW Nitro event, Flair feigned a heart attack in front of a nationwide audience, eventually being carted out of the arena in an ambulance and leaving fans in suspense over whether Flair's life was actually in danger.
A few years back, things got a little more real. Flair reportedly admitted he suffered from alcohol-related heart issues in his 2004 book, Ric Flair: To Be the Man. From what he told Complex earlier this summer, it sounds like Flair is glad to be away from the ring, focusing on improving his quality of life day-by-day.
“It takes a lot of pressure off me…just trying to be just as good the next day as I was the day before,” he said of being away from the ring. “I tell you, it’s by the grace of God that I have had the career that I had."
Here's hoping there are many years—and "Woos"—left in the tank for Flair.