WWE star Roman Reigns leaves the ring after leukemia diagnosis
Wrestler gives up universal title belt after learning his leukemia has returned
WWE wrestler Roman Reigns says he will step away from the ring because he has leukemia.
The 33-year-old Reigns, whose real name is Joe Anoa'i, made the announcement Monday night to open the episode of Raw.
He was originally diagnosed in 2008 at age 22, though he quickly went into remission. He's been fighting the disease since.
Anoa'i, who played football at Georgia Tech, has appeared in the last four main events at WrestleMania. The WWE's universal champion said during the announcement that he plans on returning to the ring when he gets healthy.
"Reigns is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease," WWE said in a statement.
On social media, fellow wrestlers and fans shared their support for Anoa'i after he revealed his cancer diagnosis.
Our job gives us the ability to portray larger than life characters who possess super human qualities and characteristics.<br><br>After hearing his story it's very apparent that Joe Anoa'i is just as much of a superhero as "Roman Reigns" is.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYouRoman?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYouRoman</a>—@JohnnyGargano
.... He will fight, he will win, he will return stronger, and I will be waiting....—@SamoaJoe
Life is a fight from the second you take your first breath,till the moment you exhale your last...theres a huge void left without Roman Reigns...but this is the fight Joe Anoa’i was always destined to win.<a href="https://t.co/WEwkvAococ">https://t.co/WEwkvAococ</a>—@RondaRousey
Anoa'i acknowledged the outpouring of support via his Twitter account.
"I can't put into words what it means to me. Your energy and positivity motivate me to get better quickly to get back in the ring," he wrote.
"For now I'm going to spend time with my family and focus on health."