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By Mike Johnson on 2022-03-25 11:42:00

A portion of WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul "Triple H" Levesque's interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith aired on First Take this morning.

Levesque noted that he had a bout of viral pneumonia that got worse and worse and had been coughing up blood.  His wife Stephanie McMahon noticed it and had him get checked out and they found fluid in his lungs and around his heart during testing.  He noted that his EKG and electrocardiogram showed that his Ejection Fraction (a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it squeezes) was at 30 when it should be around 50-60.  He was told to pack a bag and go to the emergency room.  By the time he arrived there, the fraction was down to around 20 and he was in heart failure. 

By the next morning, he was down to 12 as he was going to get a heart cauterization.  He said he was in the "one yard line" you don't want to be in. He said he was 99% gone and as he has three young girls - 15,13, 11- and that got really real.  He came home a little sick and then suddenly their dad, who's this big tough guy, he's in the hospital.  There are moments where he was getting put under and wondered if this was it and whether he would wake back up.  That was tough to swallow and it makes you think differently about life.  It doesn't make you any less driven, it just makes you appreciate life, your friends and family more.   Levesque almost broke down discussing this.

He was asked what the future holds for him.  As far as being an in-ring performer, he said he's done and will never wrestle again.  He now has a defibrillator in his chest and it's "probably not a good idea to get zapped on live TV."

Levesque's final match would have been Shinsuke Nakamura & Triple H teaming to beat Robert Roode & Samoa Joe in Tokyo, Japan in June 2019.

WWE announced in September 2021 that Levesque was recovering from a "cardiac emergency" brought on by a genetic heart issue and was expected to make a full recovery.    Since that time, WWE NXT and the the majority of the team Levesque built for that brand, including his own Executive Assistant, have been let go by WWE.

WWE issued the following tweet after the interview aired:

The complete Paul Levesque interview will air on ESPN+ tonight.

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