Flair, who wrestled for four decades during stints in WCW and WWE, has faced major medical challenges in recent years


Jason Duaine Hahn

May 16, 2019 04:03 PM

Wrestling legend Ric Flair, who has battled serious medical issues in the past, was reportedly hospitalized in the Atlanta area on Thursday morning — but the exact reason and his condition remain unclear.

According to TMZ, the 70-year-old Flair “was rushed to a hospital … after suffering a medical emergency” and the situation was “very serious.”

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A source told the wrestling news website Pro Westling Sheet that Flair was hospitalized in connection with recent heart issues.

Son-in-law Conrad Thompson, however, reportedly said in a conference call with the media that Flair’s condition was “not as grave or serious” as TMZ described, and he was instead taken to the hospital for a planned procedure.

A spokesperson for the WWE did not comment. An attorney for Flair did not immediately respond to questions from PEOPLE.

His wife and daughters have not spoken about the latest health reports.

Flair, who wrestled for four decades during stints in WCW and WWE, has experienced a number of medical scares in recent years, including an emergency in August 2017 when it was revealed he was in the early stages of kidney failure and on the verge of congestive heart failure — the result of years of alcohol abuse.

Flair’s family members were told he had only a 20 percent chance of surviving, and he was placed in a medically induced coma while they — including daughter Charlotte Flair, also a pro wrestler — took to social media to asks fans for prayers.

Doctors subsequently removed part of Flair’s bowel, inserted a pacemaker and he eventually made a recovery.

A year later in September, he married his longtime girlfriend, Wendy Barlow, in a ceremony held on the rooftop of the Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, Florida.

“I’ll never drink again,” he told PEOPLE at the time. “I never want to go through this again.”

RELATED VIDEO: WWE Legend Ric Flair in the Fight of His Life After Decades of Alcohol Abuse

After stories broke Thursday of his hospitalization, those in the wrestling community sent well-wishes to Flair through social media.

“Wishing @RicFlairNatrBoy the very best for a full and speedy recovery,” former wrestler Mick Foley posted on Twitter. “Get well soon, Ric – there is still much stylin’ and profilin’ needed to be done!”

Flair celebrated his 70th birthday in February in a surprise party with 160 guests at The 1818 club in Atlanta. The celebrity-filled gathering included appearances from former NBA players Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman. Los Angeles Rams player Todd Gurley and former boxing champion Evander Holyfield were also in attendance.

RELATED: Ric Flair Rings in 70th Birthday with Celebrity-Filled Surprise Party — ‘I Am Overcome with Emotion’

Other notables at the bash included daughter Charlotte and her boyfriend, wrestler Andrade Almas.

“I am so overwhelmed by this whole night. Every one of my peers and my friend are all here to celebrate me,” Flair told PEOPLE during the event. “I mean come on, I am so lucky. I am just so lucky. I am looking around the room in just complete awe. I never thought I would live to see this day. I am overcome with emotion.”

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