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WWE star, Pensacola native Roman Reigns announces he has leukemia

(Photo: Miguel Discart / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Leati Joseph Anoa'i, also known as Roman Reigns, announced he has leukemia on the broadcast of "Monday Night Raw," according to ESPN.

Anoa'i is originally from Pensacola.

"My real name is Joe, and I've been living with leukemia for 11 years," Anoa'i said, in front of the crowd at Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. "And, unfortunately, it's back. And because the leukemia is back, I cannot fulfill my role -- I can't be that fighting champion -- and I'm going to have to relinquish the Universal championship. ... I want to make one thing clear: By no means is this a retirement speech. Because after I'm done whipping leukemia's ass once again, I'm coming back home."

After the announcement, the WWE sent out a news release with a few additional details on Anoa'i's condition.

"Tonight on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns [a.k.a. Joe Anoa'i] announced that he is relinquishing the WWE Universal championship and taking a leave of absence from WWE as he once again fights leukemia, which had been in remission since late 2008," the WWE said in the statement. "Reigns is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease."

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More information on: ESPN.com


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