In a year which has already seen the world lose David Bowie and Alan Rickman among others to cancer, Bret “the hitman” Hart, the iconic former WWE superstar, has announced he is suffering from the prostate form of the disease.
In a lengthy post on his Instagram page, accompanied with a photo of him with his grand-children, the 58-year-old wrote:
“It is with great remorse that I feel compelled to speak truthfully to my friends, family and my millions of fans around the world. In the past few years, I’ve spent more than enough time paying the price for all those years trying to be the best there ever was as a professional wrestler. I executed excellently and my proudest claim was that I never seriously hurt or injured another wrestler in my 23 year career. I’ve paid a price for all that “fake” wrestling … Mark Helprin wrote: “We are all perfect clocks that Divinity has set to ticking when, even before birth, the heart explodes into a lifelong dance.” I’ve had a great lifelong dance and I’m a survivor of many hard battles. I now face my toughest battle. With hesitation and fear, I openly declare myself in my fight against prostate cancer. In the next few days, I will undergo surgery with the hope of defeating this nemesis once and for all. My fans have always looked upon me as a hero and I’ve always done my best to live up to that in and out of the ring. I beat the odds when I suffered my stroke in 2002, but it is now yet again, that I … stand unafraid and face the tough road ahead of me, I will march toward this destiny with his spirit chanting in my ear. I make a solemn vow to all of those that once believed in me, the dead and the living, that I will wage my fearsome fight against cancer with one shield and one sword carrying my determination and my fury for life, emboldened by all the love that’s kept me going this long already. Love is my weapon and I’ve got much of it around me all the time, for which I’m truly blessed and eternally grateful. My children, grandchildren, and my loving wife Steph have been and will constantly be at my side. I refuse to lose, I will never give in or give up, and I will win this battle or die trying. Most important of all, I hope can take the fight to prostate cancer. To be a leader in awareness and to set the example for men everywhere who find themselves in my very same shoes, that prostate cancer can be beaten. B x”
He was instantly inundated with messages of support from fans and fellow wrestlers past and present,together with wrestling company presidents and announcers, many of whom took to Twitter to pass on their well-wishes.
— Matt Morgan (@BPmattmorgan) February 2, 2016
— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) February 2, 2016
Praying for you @BretHart. You have been a hero to me in and out of the ring.
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) February 2, 2016
Attention@Bret Hart: Chin up, chest out. Put the#Sharpshooter on Prostrate Cancer & that's an Order!!!
— SGT SLAUGHTER (@_SgtSlaughter) February 2, 2016
Thoughts, prayers & well wishes to @BretHart & his family. He has all our support!
— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) February 1, 2016
@BretHart We're all on your side Bret. We're going over.
— Rob Van Dam (@TherealRVD) February 1, 2016
Pls keep my friend @BretHart in your thoughts & prayers as he battles prostrate cancer. I refuse to believe that Bret won't win this battle.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) February 1, 2016
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) February 1, 2016
— Triple H (@TripleH) February 1, 2016
Prayers are from everyone for Bret Hart and his family,only love HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) February 2, 2016
Famous for his leather jacket, pink spandex and sunglasses which he often gave to a young fan in the crowd, Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2006.
He comes from a family of much loved and respected wrestlers including brother Owen who died after an accident during his entry to the ring at an event in 1999.