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WWE's Triple H announces in-ring retirement, talks near-death experience

The longtime WWE star talked to ESPN about his September cardiac event.
HHH | Paul Levesque

In a clip from an extended interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that will be released later Friday, WWE's Paul "Triple H" Levesque said that he is done in the ring and nearly died during last September's cardiac event.

"As far as in-ring, I'm done. I would never wrestle again. I have a defibrillator in my chest so it probably wouldn't be a good idea to get zapped on live TV," he said.

In September 2021, Levesque suffered what WWE called a "cardiac event" that Smith later said was a genetic heart disorder.

Levesque said his problems started when he had viral pneumonia and inflamed lungs and that it got increasingly worse when he was recovering at home.

He said that his wife, Stephanie McMahon, saw he was coughing up blood and was told by medical personnel shortly thereafter to head to the emergency room as soon as possible. 

Levesque explained that a good ejection fraction of the human heart (a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it contracts) is between 55-60%. When he was told to go to the ER, he was at 30%.

At the time he was admitted, he was at 22%.

"I was in heart failure...bad," he said, later saying it dropped to 11% by the next morning when he was getting more tests.

"I was nosediving and at the one-yard-line of where you don't want to be for your family and your future," he said.

He got emotional when talking about the real life consequences of his situation, especially with three young daughters.

"There are moments when they are putting you out for stuff and you think 'Is this it?' Do you wake up...that's tough to swallow," he said. "It makes you think differently about life. It doesn't make you any less driven for the things you want to do, but it certainly makes you appreciate the things you have -- your friends and your family."

The full 15-minute-interview will air on Smith's ESPN+ show at 5:30 PM Eastern.