For more than four decades, Ric Flair proudly lived his gimmick, and while his immortal catchphrase made no mention of booze, he was well-known for his prodigious appetite for alcohol, even in more recent years. But with the Nature Boy fresh off a prominent health scare that had him fighting for his life, it looks like he’s finally ready to give up his most enduring vice after all those decades of boozing and partying.
In an interview with People published earlier today, Flair opened up about the circumstances that led to his hospitalization and what turned out to be life-threatening medical issues. He related how he had cheated death in a 1975 plane crash and gone on to enjoy a long wrestling career despite suffering a severely broken back in the crash. He also looked back at the time he was hit by lightning—a more obscure Flair story, but one he also reminisced about in a 2016 interview with ESPN’s Dan LeBatard. But the 16-time world champion stressed that those painful experiences paled in comparison to what he experienced last month in the hospital.
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Mere hours after Flair was hospitalized with stomach pains on Aug. 11, 2017, he entered the early stages of kidney failure and narrowly avoided congestive heart failure, something People noted was a consequence of his long-term alcohol abuse. Doctors gave the Nature Boy a mere 20 percent chance of surviving, but now that he's recovering at a convalescent center in Atlanta, Flair wants his fans to know that he’s "not out of the woods yet,” but also willing to live a much healthier lifestyle, one that doesn’t involve any alcohol of any kind.
“I’ll never drink again,” Flair told People. “I never want to go through this again.”
Although many of his hard-partying peers had long since cleaned up their act, Ric Flair continued to be known for his drinking even as he passed the age of 60. At a May 2013 event organized by 2K Sports, Flair was obviously drunk and distraught over the death of his son Reid, who passed away that March. It's been alleged that Jim Ross' inability to control Flair led to his firing by the WWE. There were also a couple minor legal issues involving alcohol over the past year or so, and while they were quickly sorted, they both suggested the wrestling legend wasn't necessarily mellowing with age when it came to his vices.
It's sad that it took a serious medical issue for Ric Flair to finally turn his back on the bottle, but we're just glad that he has. Here's to hoping Flair continues to make a strong recovery, while also staying sober just as he promised in the People interview.
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