ATLANTA - Ric Flair, a dominating force in pro wrestling for decades, found himself in a fight for his life last August. Like most bouts in Flair's life, he won, but not without a wakeup call. Good Day Atlanta's Ron Gant recently sat down with the superstar to talk about living decade after decade at full speed.
Since the early 70s, Flair beat almost every opponent who tried to take him down, but it was more than contenders in the ring that were trying to do him in.
"I've crashed in airplanes, been hit by lightning. Traveled around the world," Flair said. "I had to have my gallbladder taken out."
Flair also said he cracked a "C-5" in his neck and had to have his rotator cuffs repaired.
He said for years he led his life pounding opponents, then pounding drinks when the work was done.
"When it was time to play, I wanted to play," he said. "The reason no one could convince me I had a problem is because I never drank alone."
Three years ago, his appendix gave him a warning.
"From the time I checked into Gwinnett Medical Center, they were operating on me within 20 minutes," Flair said. "I was driving around on a ruptured appendix. Another hour and I would have been dead."
However, a ruptured appendix wasn't enough to slow him down. That was until this past summer.
"It caught up with me, man," Flair told Gant. "My kidneys had shut down. I had respiratory heart failure. I had pneumonia. All at one time. So, they gave me a 20 percent chance of living."
Fiancee Wendy Barlown stayed by Flair's side as he was in a coma for ten days. During that time, loved ones came by thinking they may have to say goodbye.
"Michael Hayes came. Hogan came. David Crockett came," he said. "A lot of people were on the road. My daughter came back from China."
Flair said at that point, he realized it was finally time to settle down.
"Something I've never done in my life is understanding the word 'moderation' and that applies to every phase of life," Flair said.
Before the health scare last summer, the most devastating thing in Flair's life had been the death of his son, Reid, in 2013. Like his father, Reid wanted to be a professional wrestler.
Flair credits Reid for inspiring his daughter, known in the ring as Charlotte, to continue the family tradition.
Flair told Gant he hasn't had a drink since August 11 and doesn't even think about drinking. He also said he's proud of his success and the town where much of it took place.
"Nothing like Atlanta, I don't care what anybody says," Flair said.