Wrestling legend and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announcer Jerry "The King" Lawler suffered a heart attack while commentating during the broadcast of "Monday Night Raw" in Montreal and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is currently in stable condition.
The 62-year-old had collapsed at the commentary booth during a tag team match between Kane and Daniel Bryan and The Prime Time Players. Medics then performed CPR on him in a locker room and he was soon taken to a hospital, the WWE said in a statement. Lawler had earlier in the show competed himself in a tag team match with Randy Orton, wrestling CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler (watch video).
"As of this morning, Jerry 'The King' Lawler is in a cardiac care unit and all his vital signs are stable..." the WWE said in a Twitter message on Tuesday. "WWE will provide additional information as it becomes available. We continue to wish Jerry all the best for a full recovery."
"It has been confirmed that Jerry did have a heart attack...he is in stable condition and breathing on his own & heart is stable," Lawler's girlfriend, Lauryn Laine McBride, said on her Facebook page on Monday night. "I'm getting on the first flight out of here to be with him & will keep everyone posted. He is a strong man and we will get him back at his best as soon as I can get him home! I love you so so much baby!!"
Lawler, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, began his wrestling career more than 40 years ago. He famously wrestled comedy legend Andy Kaufman in the ring and confronted him on David Letterman's NBC talk show, as part of a staged feud. Kaufman, who died in 1984, was famous for his on-air and stage stunts.
Lawler had in July Tweeted about his feud with the comedian, saying: "Today is the 30th anniversary of me slapping Andy Kaufman on the David Letterman show...time flies when you're living!"
Lawler played himself in the 1998 movie "Man On The Moon," which was about Kaufman's life and starred Jim Carrey as the comic.
WWE announcer Jim Ross and several wrestling stars such as the Iron Sheik, Tyson Kidd and David Otunga, who is also known as the fiance of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, posted messages of support following the incident, which occurred hours before the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"I know what you know re: Jerry Lawler's medical condition. My dear friend will fight. Please pray for him. We're all hurting," Ross Tweeted.
"God bless the Jerry Lawler," The Iron Sheik said on his Twitter page. "I love him forever."
"Today we remember the fallen heroes of 9/11/01 and their families. Today, I'm also praying for Jerry "The King" Lawler. #PrayForLawler," Otunga Tweeted.
Kidd said on his Twitter page: "Thoughts and prayers are with The King. #PrayersforLawler."
Many WWE fans on social networks voiced their support for Lawler. Some also recalled another public wrestling tragedy - the fatal accident of Owen Hart at the "Over The Edge" pay-per-view event that took place in Kansas City, Missouri in 1999.
The wrestler was supposed to be lowered into the ring but the stunt failed and he fell to his death, as spectators watched in horror. Lawler and Ross were in the announcer's booth. A 31-year-old witness, who attended the event, told OTRC.com that Lawler was the first person who stepped into the ring to try to help Hart. Ross broke the news of the wrestler's death to the crowd.
(Pictured: Jerry Lawler gestures to fans before the start of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs, in Memphis, Tennessee on April 23, 2011. Credit: AP Photo / Mark Humphrey)