WWE legend Jerry 'The King' Lawler collapses at Montreal event
WWE wrestling star Jerry "The King" Lawler throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers, Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Cleveland. (AP / Amy Sancetta)
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:04AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:46AM EDT
Popular pro wrestling commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler suffered a heart attack at a World Wrestling Entertainment event at Montreal’s Bell Centre on Monday night.
The 62-year-old Lawler collapsed at the announcers’ table during a live telecast of WWE Monday Night Raw. He was quickly whisked him away backstage and tended to by WWE medical staff who performed CPR to restart his heart. He was then taken to hospital.
Though Lawler usually works only a commentator, the former pro wrestler had been involved in a tag team match earlier in the broadcast with wrestlers Randy Orton, CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler.
His broadcast partner Michael Cole was the first to tell fans about the medical emergency.
"Jerry passed out here at ringside," he told the crowd. "He is receiving medical attention as we speak. They are performing CPR. And again, this is not, not part of tonight's entertainment."
Despite the medical crisis behind the scenes, the wrestling matches continued. Cole stayed silent for the rest of the telecast, looking distraught, speaking only to update viewers on Lawler's condition.
The last update he gave said, "Jerry Lawler's condition is stabilized, he is breathing on his own."
The organization issued a statement on the WWE.com website that read: "We are hopeful Jerry makes a full recovery and returns to WWE in the near future. Our thoughts are with Jerry and his family."
Twitter quickly offered an outpouring of support for the longtime commentator.
Fellow broadcast partner Jim Ross tweeted: “I’m shaken by the news of my friend Jerry Lawler’s medical emergency in Montreal. Hands shaking. Prayers for the King. I feel helpless.”
Former WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels tweeted: “I’ve just heard about Jerry Lawler!! Time for prayer everybody!! We’re here for you King, God Bless!!”
Former WWE Announcer and current ESPN Anchor Todd Grisham wrote: "Jerry Lawler was one of the nicest people I worked with @wwe. A great guy and good friend. I hope he pulls through ok. My prayers are with him."
Lawler began his wrestling career in the 1970s, winning multiple regional championships in the southern U.S.
He may be best known outside the wrestling world for a 1982 bout with comedian Andy Kaufman. The 1.8-metre (6-foot), 108 kg (240-pound) Lawler performed a “piledriver” on the skinny comedian, fracturing his neck.
Lawler, who has two sons and has been married three times, was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame in 2007.