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Triple H discusses heart failure scare: ‘I will never wrestle again’

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Since WWE announced Paul “Triple H” Levesque experienced a “cardiac event” last September, we’ve seen numerous reports about what that entailed and what it meant for The Game’s future. But we hadn’t heard from Levesque himself.

That changed today (Mar. 25) when Triple H spoke to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. A portion of their interview aired on First Take (the full version will be released on ESPN+’s Stephen A’s World later), and it confirms reports Hunter’s health situation was deadly serious.

While suffering from pneumonia, doctors discovered his heart was failing:

“I had a viral pneumonia. My lungs were inflamed, and as the next couple days went on after I got home it got increasingly worse. My wife [Stephanie McMahon] saw some blood and stuff that I was coughing up, and went and got checked. It was coming from the viral pneumonia, but I had fluid in my lungs, I had some fluid around my heart.

“So they followed up on it, did an EKG and echo[cardiogram]. Basically, the way your heart pumps out, 55 to 65 percent of your ejection fracture [sic; Levesque means ejection fraction, a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it contracts] is a good number. I was at 30 [percent]. I got a quick text message saying, ‘Don’t take time, pack a bag real quick, head to the emergency room. I’ll fill you in on the way.’

“So by the time I got to the emergency room, my ejection fracture had gone down to 22. I was in heart failure. Bad. By the next morning, as they figured that out in the evening, by the next morning as they were sending me in to get an MRI done, and about to go in for a heart cath[eter], my ejection fracture was down to 12... I was nose diving, and sort of at the one-yard line of where you need to be, or where you don’t want to be, really, for your family and your future. When they tell you it’s 99%, it gets real.

“We have three young girls [ages]: 15, 13, and 11. Suddenly, I come home and I’m a little bit sick, and their dad, who’s strong, always, suddenly is in the hospital. I don’t know if they understood the consequences of it, but there’s moments in there when they’re putting you out for stuff [pauses to collect himself] and you think, ‘Is this it? Do you wake from this?’ That’s tough to swallow, And makes you think differently... about life. It doesn’t make you any less driven for the things that you do, but it certainly makes you appreciate the things you have more — your friends, your family.”

Haitch confirmed that this means his final match is behind him (the 53 year old’s last outing is now a 2019 house show tag match in Tokyo with Shinsuke Nakamura against Robert Roode & Samoa Joe). WWE announced his in-ring retirement as the interview was airing.

“For me, as far as in-ring... I’m done. I won’t — I will never wrestle again. First of all, I have a defibrillator in my chest, which it’s not a good idea for me zapped on live TV.”

We’ll see what this means for Levesque’s other job as a WWE executive. He’s remained somewhat involved in his talent development role, but handed over the reins of NXT to Shawn Michaels and his father-in-law Vince McMahon’s main roster team.

Mostly though, we’re glad to hear he’s come out the other side of a very scary situation.