TMZ.com reported tonight that Ric Flair is threatening to sue ESPN.com-affiliated website Grantland.com over columnist Shane Ryan’s claim in an unflattering article published Wednesday that he is suffering from a heart condition caused by several years of drinking.
A representative for the WWE Hall of Famer told TMZ that Flair does not suffer from alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a disease caused by years of alcohol abuse which often leads to heart failure.
“While the information gleaned from courthouse records may be credible, Mr. Fliehr is currently evaluating his legal options with respect to falsehoods in the story, specifically the untrue statement that he suffers from alcoholic cardiomyopathy,” said Melinda Morris Zanoni, of Legacy Talent and Entertainment, LLC.
“Our client understands that these allegations are part of the territory when you are not only famous, but a living legend. Ric Flair is a sports entertainer, which has been a lifelong passion that he still enjoys delivering to his fans today, along with his work outside of the ring with various charitable causes. We will be sure to advise Mr. Fliehr against running for County Treasurer and instead to continue entertaining his millions of fans all over the world as he has been doing for the past 35 years.”
Contrary to Zanoni’s statement, Flair admitted in his 2004 autobiography, Ric Flair: To Be the Man, that he suffers from alcoholic cardiomyopathy as a result of his “many years of partying.”
“Through my many years of partying, I also developed something called “alcoholic cardiomyopathy,” a weakening of heart muscles,” Flair stated on page 304. “I first detected that there was something wrong when my heart began skipping beats. I went to a cardiologist friend who told me that when your heart pumps, it expands to a rubber band. But mine was doing it too much. Initially, I thought that steroids might be responsible, but the doctor dismissed this theory. My heart was fluttering from thirty-five years of hitting it hard.
“It’s the part of the price of being Ric Flair. In exchange for the glory and the good times, I acquired a heart condition, self-esteem issues, and cataracts from tanning beds—and very nearly wrecked my marriage to a great woman. But incredibly, I remained ageless in other ways. And in 2002, at nearly fifty-three years old, I was about to see if I could show a new generation of fans what they missed in the 1970s and 1980s.”
The book passage can be accessed here.