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WWE star Roman Reigns reveals leukemia has returned, relinquishes belt

Roman Reigns during WWE Live Manila. Sherwin Vardeleon/INQUIRER

Leati Joseph Anoa’i, more popularly known by his ring name Roman Reigns, revealed that he is fighting leukemia.

Anoa’i made an emotional announcement inside the ring on WWE’s Monday Night Raw before the crowd at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

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“My real name is Joe and I’ve been living with leukemia for 11 years and unfortunately, it’s back,” Anoa’i said. “And because the leukemia’s back, I cannot fulfill my role, I can’t be that fighting champion and I’m gonna have to relinquish the Universal Championship.”

“But I wanna make one thing clear: By no means is this a retirement speech because after I’m done whooping leukemia’s ass once again, I’m coming back home.”

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The WWE released a statement following Anoa’i’s announcement.

“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 as posted on ESPN.com.

“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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