The Universal Champion, whose real name is Joe Anoa’i, made the announcement during the opening of Raw.
“The reality is my real name is Joe, and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s back.”
— WWE (@WWE) October 23, 2018
The wrestler said he was first diagnosed when he was just 22 years old. He said it was one of the hardest times of his life – he was expecting a child and didn’t have a job, money or a home – but he was able to quickly “put it in remission.”
When Reigns revealed his diagnosis Monday, fans appeared stunned.
“I can’t fulfill my role; I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m going to have to relinquish the Universal Championship,” he said.
But he said he will return.
“I’ll take every prayer you can send my way. But I’m not looking for sympathy; I’m not looking for you to feel bad for me because I have faith.”