WASHINGTON — World Wrestling Entertainment star Triple H, whose real name is Paul Levesque, has announced he has retired from in-ring competition after suffering "heart failure" last year.
Levesque made the announcement during an interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Clips of their discussion were released Friday morning in which the WWE legend revealed he had a defibrillator implanted in his chest after what had previously been described as a "cardiac event" in Sept. 2021.
Levesque, 52, explained that he had been dealing with viral pneumonia at the time, which increasingly got worse and he eventually started coughing up blood. Doctors found he had fluid in his lungs and fluid around his heart.
"I was in heart failure, bad," Levesque described to Smith. "I was nosediving and sort of at the one-yard line...where you don't want to be."
"There's moments in there when they're putting you out for stuff and you think 'is this it,' 'do you wake up from this? It's tough to swallow," Levesque recounted about his time in the hospital.
WWE previously stated Levesque's "cardiac event" had been caused by a "genetic heart issue."
Levesque currently serves as WWE's Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development. He wrestled for years as Triple H -- short for his character name Hunter Hearst Helmsley -- and was a 14-time world champion. In recent years, he's made sporadic in-ring appearances. He last wrestled in a match against Randy Orton in January 2021.
He now says that was his last-ever professional wrestling match.
"As far as in-ring...I'm done. I will never wrestle again," Levesque stated during the ESPN interview.
The full 15-minute interview was released Friday evening on ESPN+.
After ESPN shared a preview of the interview, Stephen A. Smith explained that Levesque is still recovering and only around 50% of himself.
"He got to a point where he thought it was over and it was pretty close," Smith said.