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 Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
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 Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Local

Wrestling icon Ric Flair posts first message on social media since health scare

August 30, 2017 6:26 AM

Professional wrestling icon Ric Flair has a message for his fans: “Sometimes, you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.”

That’s what Flair posted Tuesday on Twitter, marking the first time he has reached out on social media since an undisclosed emergency surgery put him in the hospital on Aug. 11.

“Naitch WILL be back!” he added, using one of his many nicknames.

The message seemed especially poetic, given Flair’s recent health scare is the latest in a series of near-death experiences. He says he has been struck twice by lightning, including once at an airport in Virginia. And in 1975, he survived a Cessna crash in Wilmington, North Carolina. (Flair broke his back in the incident, according to his web site.)

His Tuesday message to fans comes after weeks of confusion and speculation over the nature of Flair’s illness.

On Monday, Wrestling Sheet editor Ryan Satin shared a Facebook post from Flair’s fiancée, Wendy Barlow, that said he’s doing well.

“He will begin physical therapy shortly and will be stronger than ever and back out enjoying all the fans sooner than you would think. I can honestly say I have witnessed a miracle,” the post states.

Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were. Naitch WILL be back! pic.twitter.com/v9YbIEykt9

— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) August 29, 2017

Flair’s condition involved having a portion of his bowel removed, Barlow said earlier this month in a private Facebook post. The couple celebrated their fifth anniversary together while Flair was in the hospital, according to a Tweet from Barlow.

Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported Flair was being treated for a combination of problems: He has had an external pacemaker put in to help his heart, he was on kidney dialysis, and he was being treated for an infection.

Flair’s manager, Melinda Morris Zanoni, recently told the Observer’s Tom Sorensen that Flair, 68, really wants to get out of the hospital and ‘be Ric Flair again,’ but he is unlikely to get out soon. Flair is progressing and resting, she said.

Zanoni has said she won’t give details about his illness, out of respect for the family’s privacy. However, she put wrestling fans on alert Aug. 13 with posts on social media that said Flair needed “prayers & positive energy” while dealing with some tough medical issues.

Perhaps by coincidence, Flair’s souvineer shop is now selling a black T-shirt that says: “I ain’t dead yet, (expletive).”

Ric Flair's fiancée with an update on his health. Says she's witnessed a miracle. pic.twitter.com/Xz2qZLT66h

— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) August 29, 2017

Today is our 5 year Anniversary! @RicFlairNatrBoy Our Love is true and our Hearts are Forever connected. #blessed pic.twitter.com/QlpIL8z3py

— Wendy Barlow (@wonderouswendy1) August 26, 2017

Ric Flair only prayers,love and positive thoughts,now it's time to kick out because you can and you will always be "The Man" my brother. HH

— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) August 15, 2017

Pro wrestling icon Ric Flair, on wrestling and baseball at Marlins Park

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

Andre C. Fernandez a1fernandez@miamiherald.com

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