Jerry "The King" Lawler, a wrestling legend and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announcer, appears to be on the road to recovery and is "alert and in great spirits" after suffering a heart attack during the broadcast of "Monday Night Raw" earlier this week, according to his friends.
Lawler, 62, had collapsed at the commentary booth during a match and had wrestled in another one himself less than an hour beforehand. Medics treated him in a locker room and he was then taken to a medical center in Montreal, where he remains hospitalized in serious condition. Co-host Michael Cole, who announced the collapse at the event, recently gave fans updates about his friend.
"#wweuniverse you will never believe this! I just got off the phone with #jerrylawler and he is alert and in great spirits!" Cole Tweeted on Wednesday. "#jerrylawler sends his love to you all and thanks you for all the support! He says the strap will be coming down soon!"
He added on Thursday: "The king is in great spirits again today! #GetWellJerry."
Jim Ross, also a WWE announcer and a longtime friend of Lawler, said on his Twitter page: "The King is moving around and eating. In great frame of mind. Getting better by the day. All good news. On road to full recovery.#WWE."
After Lawler was hospitalized, his girlfriend, Lauryn Laine McBride, said on her Facebook page on Monday night that she was "getting on the first flight out of here to be with him."
The two live in Memphis, Tennesse, where Lawler was born. The WWE star was once married to fellow wrestler Stacy Carter, who went by Miss Kitty and The Kat. She was his third wife. The two separated in 2011 after less than a year of marriage. Lawler has two sons from his first marriage.
Carter, who now lives in Florida, also posted updates about Lawler's health condition on her Facebook page, saying on Tuesday that he became responsive and was taken off a respirator. On Wednesday, she said medical tests showed Lawler suffered "NO brain damage" as a result of his heart attack.
Lawler 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.
Over the past week, many WWE stars and fans voiced their support for Lawler, one of the most popular wrestling stars in the world. 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. Ross was the one who broke the news of Hart's death to the crowd. A 31-year-old man who attended the event and witnessed the tragedy told OTRC.com that Lawler sprung into action to get to Hart after he fell.
"Jerry Lawler was the first person to get in the ring and try and help Owen," the witness said. "When his body fell, I remember thinking, "that wasn't real,' until Lawler slid into the ring and started yelling for help like a madman."
(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)