Jerry "The King" Lawler, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, has reportedly been hospitalised following a stroke. Lawler was staying at his property in Florida, reports PWInsider, and had gone out to lunch with friends when he fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital.
First breaking the story on Tuesday (7 February), PWInsider said that despite learning of the issue “last night”, it had decided not to report on the situation out of respect for Lawler and his family, since neither they nor the WWE had made an official statement.
WMC-TV in Memphis - where Lawler was born, spent much of his career and continues to live - has since reported Lawler suffered a stroke, requiring surgery.
Who is Jerry Lawler?
Prior to joining WWE in 1992, Lawler wrestled in numerous territories, winning many championships, including multiple World Heavyweight Championships, throughout his career.
Lawler has held more recognised championships than any professional wrestler in history, though he has never won any championships in WWE having wrestled sporadically whilst primarily providing commentary since joining the company.
Despite being aged 73, Lawler does still compete in the realm of professional wrestling, and according to the website Cagematch.net - the "internet wrestling database” - had fought in 10 matches in the last year.
His last major public appearance came when he served as a panellist on WWE’s Royal Rumble pre-show on 28 January, and his last in-ring bout took place against The Beer City Bruiser at an independent wrestling show on 21 January.
Lawler hasn’t been seen competing on WWE television since 2012, when he suffered a heart attack live on the wrestling company’s flagship Monday Night Raw programme.
Lawler had returned to the commentary position after competing in a tag team match earlier in the night, when he collapsed and required medical personnel to administer CPR. Thankfully, he was revived after being pronounced clinically dead for 30 minutes.
Is Jerry Lawler OK?
While there remains no official statement on the situation from Lawler’s family, friends and colleagues from the world of professional wrestling have provided their own updates on the situation.
Dutch Mantell, one of Lawler’s most infamous wrestling rivals - who most recently appeared on WWE TV as onscreen manager Zeb Colter between 2013 and 2016 - tweeted: “"It has been confirmed that Jerry Lawler suffered a stroke last night in Ft. Myers, Florida. He was rushed to a local hospital where he underwent a medical procedure. His latest condition is actually good and he is expected to recover. Good news."
A little while later, Mantell gave another update on Lawler’s status after speaking with Lawler’s son, Kevin. "Just talked to Kevin... he said that he talked to the [doctor] who said that Jerry is improving," Mantell tweeted. "He suffered some paralysis on his left side that he is now regaining use of. The [doctor] said that Jerry should recover from this episode. Good luck Jerry."