Bret "The Hitman" Hart was used to winning battles in the wrestling ring; now the Calgary-born Hart is looking to successfully battle a different foe — prostate cancer.
On his website, Hart said he "will wage my fearsome fight against cancer with one shield and one sword carrying my determination and my fury for life, emboldened by all the love that's kept me going this long already."
The 58-year-old former professional wrestler is a member of the famous Hart wrestling dynasty.
His father, Stu Hart, started Stampede Wrestling — "the staple of western Canadian culture" from the 1950s to the late 1980s, said Heath McCoy, author of Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling.
"Stu Hart had 12 kids — eight boys and four girls — all whom became engrained in the wrestling business in one way or another, whether they married wrestlers or, you know, became referees or wrestlers themselves," said McCoy.
Hart was in the ring for two decades and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
According to his website, his career ended with a careless kick to the head during a pay-per-view match that caused a severe concussion and then a major stroke.
In recent years, Hart says he's had "two knee replacements, two hernia operations, surgery on my right elbow, and, just a few months ago, I underwent a four-corner fusion of my right wrist."
"He did have this gritty, realistic style and he really did put his body on the line a lot," said McCoy.
Hart is a 'fighter"
"It kind of hit me like a slap in the face today," said McCoy upon learning that Hart had cancer.
"I think a lot of people are quite shocked today and … pulling for him in his corner."
There was an outpouring of support on Twitter from the wrestling community on Monday.
I have only love for @BretHart,I pray for his perfect health,Gods got him,the Gersen Clinic is an option that makes sense only love HH— @HulkHogan
McCoy called Hart a "fighter" and believes he will get through this, just like his previous battles with illness.
Hart says he will have surgery in the next few days, and "I refuse to lose, I will never give in or give up, and I will win this battle or die trying."
Hart also says he hopes to become a spokesman for prostate cancer.