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Wrestler Ric Flair is ‘awake, communicating,’ says rep, but there are complications

Retired professional wrestler Rick Flair, the subject of the documentary "30 for 30: Nature Boy," participates in a panel during the ESPN Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Retired professional wrestler Rick Flair, the subject of the documentary "30 for 30: Nature Boy," participates in a panel during the ESPN Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

After 5 days of silence, a rep for wrestling icon Ric Flair has finally updated fans on his condition, noting he’s awake and talking but “there are complications.”

Melinda Morris Zanoni, Flair’s manager at Legacy Talent, announced the news via a series of tweets on Saturday, while still refusing to say exactly what caused the 68-year-old wrestler to need emergency surgery Monday at an Atlanta hospital.

“Happy 2 report @RicFlairNatrBoy is awake, communicating & progressing … but there are complications so needs rest for the 1st time in 40 yrs,” said Zanoni’s tweet.

Zanoni went on to say Flair apparently had enough energy to “cut a promo on a nurse.” The term “cut a promo” refers to a professional wrestling practice of recording promotional videos containing taunts and trash talk about an upcoming opponent. It wasn’t clear who Flair was “trash talking.”

“The man outlived a plane crash & being struck by lightening, he is a survivor,” Zanoni tweeted, referring to a Cessna crash in Wilmington, N.C., that Flair walked away from in 1975.

Flair’s daughter, Charlotte Flair, also sent out an update on Sunday, via Instagram:

“After an incredibly hard week, my dad is getting better,” said Charlotte Flair. “There is still a long road to go and he’s not out of the woods just yet, but I want to again thank everyone for their support on behalf of myself and my family.”

Exactly what sidelined Flair – and put him in critical condition – has been the source of much speculation in the past week, including talk of a heart attack and a bacterial infection.

His fiancée, Wendy Barlow, is credited with writing a private Facebook post that says she is the one who took him to the hospital late Friday with severe abdominal pain.

“From that moment on, it all seems like a nightmare … multiple organ problems,” said a screenshot of the Facebook post. “Not to go into too many details, but I want everyone to know he still needs prayers, as he is still in critical condition.”

Sports Illustrated reported Thursday that Flair, a former Charlottean, had been treated for an intestinal blockage and wound up having part of his bowel removed.

Zanoni first broke the news of his illness with an Aug. 13 tweet that said Flair was “dealing with some tough medical issues” and needed prayers. She declined to explain what those health issues were, out of respect for the family’s privacy. Later that day, she said he had surgery, and had a “long road ahead.”

In one of her tweets on Saturday, Zanoni noted some people had even offered to donate a kidney to Flair, perhaps due to reports he was on dialysis.

“Thank you 4 the outpouring of prayers & well wishes (altho the offers 4 a kidney seemed a little excessive,” she tweeted.

Flair earned 16 world championships since the late 1970s, but became just as famous for his in-ring antics, including rule breaking, a cocky interview style, strutting and shouting the catchphrase “WOOOOO!” The latter has become his trademark.

Wrestling legend Ric Flair talks about Wrestling Night at Marlins Park on Friday night and praises Marlins sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour.

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