(MONTREAL) — Wrestling legend and World Wrestling Entertainment commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler was rushed to the hospital on Monday after he collapsed and suffered a heart attack at a live televised show.
The WWE issued a statement Monday night after Raw went off the air in Montreal: “Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler suffered a heart attack while commentating during last night’s broadcast of Monday Night Raw in Montreal. We are hopeful Jerry makes a full recovery and returns to WWE in the near future. Our thoughts are with Jerry and his family.”
Broadcast partner Michael Cole told the viewers that the situation was “serious,” but Lawler was breathing on his own.
“This is not part of tonight’s entertainment,” Cole said. “This is a real-life situation.”
During a tag-team match, Cole and Lawler’s voices became absent from the telecast. Fans in the audience began to rise from their seats and direct their attention to the broadcast table at ringside. The cameras remained focused on the action in the ring.
Cole resumed announcing the match before informing fans of the situation later in the evening.
Cole said Lawler fell out of his chair and doctors rushed to the announcer’s table before a stretcher carried Lawler to the backstage area where he received CPR. Cole said Lawler was responding well to tests and would be given a CT scan in the hospital, and “in typical Jerry Lawler fashion, he’s fighting hard.”
Lawler, 62, who primarily does announcing work for the company, does occasionally step into the ring to wrestle. Lawler became briefly involved in a match earlier in the program before returning to do commentary.
Lawler became a star in wrestling during the 1970s and 1980s in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. He received mainstream attention after his scripted feud with comedian Andy Kaufman during the 1980s. Lawler played himself in the 1999 Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon.
Lawler was inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lisa Respers France, CNN
Frank Pallotta, CNN