MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Twenty four hours after it happened, information was trickling out of Montreal, Canada concerning the condition of Memphis wrestling superstar Jerry “The King” Lawler.
According to one behind the scenes, ringside account, Lawler was “clinically dead for twenty minutes.”
Lawler suffered a heart attack during a live World Wrestling Entertainment broadcast on Monday, September 10, 2012.
Lawler’s current girlfriend, Lauryn McBride, in a statement to abc24.com- said The King was stable and breathing on his own, a day later.
Clinical death occurs when blood circulation and breathing stop.
As family and friends raced to Montreal to be at Lawler’s side he remained in the cardiac unit of a Montreal hospital.
When the heart attack struck during the middle of a televised wrestling show, Lawler’s announcing partner was clearly shaken.
“This is not part of tonight’s entertainment,” said Michael Cole, Lawler’s partner.
And it wasn’t; it was all too real.
“I was just in shock,” Jimmy Hart told abc24.com, “I said a prayer immediately. I said Dear Lord I don’t ask for a lot of things, but if you can take care of The King for me, I sure would appreciate it.”
Hart owes his wrestling career to Lawler and was hoping for the best.
“Oh, I love him,” Hart said.
Joe Barton was Lawler’s lawyer for more than twenty years; Lawler sang at his wedding. Like Hart, he couldn’t believe it.
“I was struck hard,” said Barton, “because I knew it was not part of the show.”
“The first question I asked,” Hart told abc24.com, “did they film it? No. Did they shoot him and the ambulance leaving? No. And I said, well it is real.”
World Wrestling Entertainment didn’t release much information the day after the heart attack, offering a brief statement that read, in part: “We continue to wish Jerry all the best for a full recovery.”
“He’s going to be all right,” said Barton, “he’s a strong guy and getting good medical care. He’s going to be fine.”
“According to Kevin, his son,” said Hart, “I guess he had a stent put into his heart.”
“The stent is a titanium metal device,” said Memphis cardiologist Dr. Lisa Young, “mounted on a little balloon, passed over a wire and that opens up the blockage.”
But, at almost 62 could The King actually come back and wrestle again?
“Potentially, yes.” said the doctor.
That’s if the heart pumps sixty percent of normal blood flow with each beat.
“As long as it’s still pumping that much,” said Young, “or even forty five to fifty percent, he’d be okay.”
That’s what Memphis, and wrestling fans everywhere, are hoping.
“The stint’s not that big a deal,” said Barton, “but yeah, we’re worried.”
Barton relayed a great story about The King, discovering he was a regular visitor to the children’s burn unit at The Med. Even after years of friendship, Barton was unaware of that and cites it as an example of Lawler’s character.