In an interview with Sports Illustrated last Tuesday, three days before he was hospitalised in Atlanta, Flair eerily discussed his alcohol problems that have led to health complications later in life.
“I had one vice. I’m not going to point my finger at anybody else. My vice was drinking,” he told the magazine. “I didn’t have any pain issues, addiction problems, marijuana, cocaine, nothing like that. It’s a fact that I kept myself up all night and always had a good time.”
Flair, 68, reportedly underwent surgery Monday to relieve an intestinal blockage, which required the removal of a portion of his bowel. It was originally thought the WWE legend had suffered a heart attack or received colon surgery after he was placed in a medically induced coma earlier in the week.
Flair’s fiancee, Wendy Barlow, denied those rumours Wednesday when she posted an update on her Facebook page that clarified the source of Flair’s condition and described the emotional toll the incident has taken on his family.
“Just want to give an update to my friends and Family as I have been unable to talk on the phone without crying and just feel shocked over events…,” she wrote. “I took Ric to the Hospital Friday night with Severe Abdominal pain. From that moment on it all seems like a nightmare.”
Flair’s hospital stay may last more than a month, according to Sports Illustrated, after he experienced further complications from Monday’s surgery.
Flair, whose highly successful wrestling career spanned 40 years, has opened up about his alcoholic past before this year. In his 2015 autobiography, “Ric Flair: To Be the Man,” Flair explained how his hard-partying ways led to a certain degree of heart failure and visits with a cardiologist.
“Through my many years of partying, I also developed something called ‘alcoholic cardiomyopathy,’ a weakening of heart muscles,” he wrote in the book. “I first detected that there was something wrong when my heart began skipping beats. I went to a cardiologist friend who told me that when your heart pumps, it expands to a rubber band. But mine was doing it too much.
“Initially, I thought that steroids might be responsible, but the doctor dismissed this theory. My heart was fluttering from thirty-five years of hitting it hard.”
While he recovers, Flair’s family and friends continue asking for thoughts and prayers.
“There never was one like Ric Flair, and there will never be another one like him,” said Terry Funk, one of Flair’s WWE rivals in the ’80s and ’90s. “I think the world of him, and I want him around.”
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