Ric Flair has paid tribute to his ‘mentor’ and ‘hero’ ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham after news emerged of the 1977-78 WWWF Heavyweight Champion being on life support with an array of serious heath issues. 

Taking to Twitter on Monday, the 16-time World Champion offered his full support to Graham, 79, also sharing how much of an impact he’s had on Flair’s own glamorous career. 

‘So sad to hear about Billy Graham’s healthy,’ Flair tweeted. ‘Make No Mistake- Talk About The Influence He Made On ME And So Many Others! Hulk, Dusty Etc! You’re beautiful. Bonnie Dyed My Hair In 1972!! Stay Strong My Mentor! FYI – You And Dusty Rhodes Were My Heroes! You Made Me!’

Flair’s heartfelt message to his wrestling companion comes a day after Graham’s wife, Valerie, shared an update on her husband’s health on his official Facebook page on May 15. 

‘Please urgent prayers needed for my husband,’ she wrote. ‘The doctors wanted to remove him from life support tonight. I refused. ‘He’s a fighter and his will is strong even if his body isn’t. God is our hope.’

Ric Flair’s paid tribute to his ‘mentor’ and ‘hero’ ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham on Twitter on Monday

Graham – a former Heavyweight Champ’ – is on life support, dealing with serious health issues

Ric Flair – a 16-time Wrestling World Champion – shared his heartfelt message to Graham after learning more about his idol’s condition on Monday. Pictured in June 2022

Graham’s health has been in steady decline over the last few months, according to a GoFundMe page, with the award-winning bodybuilder dealing with a ‘myriad of very serious health issues’. 

Genesis - Live in London - 25th March 2022 - The Final Dom\u2026 | FlickrAs of Tuesday, 422 donations have been made, raising $17,090 of a $50,000 goal.

Prior to launching a career in pro wrestling, Graham – born Eldridge Wayne Coleman – had aspirations to make it to the Canadian Football League, though he skyrocketed to fame once his jacked body became widely popular with media outlets. 

Starting his wrestling career in 1969, Graham signed with several promotions deals before making his WWE debut in 1975. 

By that time, his in-arena look became influential to many of his counterparts, such as Austin Idol, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair. Once wrestling gained more popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, wrestlers such as Steve Austin and Triple H began adopting his look and mannerisms.

Over the course of his WWE career, Graham’s won the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship once back in 1977.  He was inducted alongside Ventura and Sgt. Slaughter in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004. 

Graham’s muscular look inspired Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair in the 1980s

Graham (right) once won the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship once back in 1977

But Graham’s career didn’t go without any controversy. He admittedly used anabolic steroids, claiming himself to be ‘an innovator of steroid use’ in the WWE. Graham went on to do a public awareness campaign regarding the dangers of the drug after learning of its effects. 

Regarding his health, Graham’s dealt with multiple issues with his liver – requiring transplants – over the last decade before eventually being diagnosed with third-stage liver disease and cirrhosis back in 2012.

Since then, he has been hospitalized for pneumonia, possible heart failure, liver complications, and internal bleeding.

Back in 2022, he had his toes amputated. In January of this year, he was hospitalized after being diagnosed with an ear and skull infection – which he is currently fighting.

Graham, also a WWE Hall-of-Famer, is currently fighting his health issues on life support

According to that GoFundMe page, Graham has been away from home for four months – either at a rehab center or in a hospital.

As of April 26, the page says he has lost 80 pounds and has ‘extreme weakness’, is on strong IV antibiotics three times a day. Doctors say that he, ‘will need to be on them for at least three more months’.

The page also says that the infection in his ears, skull and sinuses has rendered him ‘completely deaf’. 

Graham has ‘also intermittently also suffered with kidney issues, and been on dialysis’ in addition to ‘having heart and lung concerns, sores from being in bed for four months, and depression.’

What’s more is that his wife, Valerie, contracted COVID in March and has struggled with a long form of the virus, making it harder to visit her husband.


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