Roman Reigns kept his leukaemia diagnosis secret because he didn’t want fans to think he’d been ‘given certain things’ of pity.
Triple H, another WWE legend, revealed Reigns had spoken to him about his health battle.
Presumably, those ‘certain things’ include the WWE Universal title he relinquished after announcing that he was battling the disease live on this week’s Monday Night Raw.
Reigns, whose real name is Leati Joseph Anoaʻi, was first diagnosed with the cancer when he was 22, but only those closest to him were aware of his fight.
The dad-of-three, 33, has taken time out from performing to fight the disease.
Appearing on New York’s Elvis Duran Show , Triple H, aka Paul Michael Levesque, said: "This is something that very few people know about.
"He and I have spoken about this, this is something he did not want to put out there until he had reached a certain point in time in his career because he didn’t want people to feel like he was being pitied or given things for a certain reason.
"He wanted to be able to come out at the end and be like, ‘Look, I dealt with this the whole time, you can do anything. This is not an end sentence, you know.’"
Reigns shocked the wrestling world on Monday when he made the announcement.
Breaking character, he said: " feel like I owe everyone an apology.
"For months, maybe even a whole year, I’ve come out here as Roman Reigns and said I’d come out here every week, that I’d be a fighting champion, that I was going to be consistent, that I was going to be a workhorse – but that’s all lies.
"It’s a lie because the reality is, my real name is Joe and I’ve been living with leukaemia for 11 years and unfortunately it’s back.
"And because the leukaemia is back I cannot fulfil my role, I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m going to have to relinquish my Universal Championship.
"I’m not going to lie, 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.
"When I was 22 years old I was diagnosed with this. And very quickly I was able to put it in remission.
"But I’m not going to lie, that was the hardest time of my life. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a home and I had a baby on the way and football was done with me.
"But do you want to know who gave me a chance – the team that gave me a chance was the WWE.
"And when I finally made it to the main roster, I was on the road and they put me in front of you, the WWE Universe, and to be honest you all have made my dreams come true.
"And it didn’t matter if you cheered me, it didn’t matter if you booed me, you’ve always reacted to me and that is the most important thing and for that I have to say thank you so much.
"But you all know the deal and how life is. Life’s not always fair, it’s not all peaches and cream. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.
"And right now, the best thing for me is to go home, focus on my family and my health."
There has been an outpouring of support, with Reigns’ fellow performers and fans sending well-wishes.
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