When Bret ‘Hit man’ Hart would arrive at the wrestling ring, the crowd would erupt. His iconic mirrored sunglasses would sparkle, a trick to hide his nervousness. And for fans all around the globe, he was more than a superstar. He retired from wrestling in 2000, but eventually came back and participated on and off till 2010. In between these 10 years, he suffered from stroke once which made he dependable on wheelchairs. One of the reasons for his retirement was injury. He was later named the General Manager of Raw in 2010. The job may not last longer than expected, but ‘Hit man’ sure makes special appearances till date.

His main rivals varied from time to time. The 80s era saw him fight against Dynamite Kid, Tiger Mask, Ricky Steamboat, and Aldo Marino, to be named a few. By 90s, he was wrestling The Honky Tonk Man, Dino Bravo, and later proceeded his rivalry with Shawn Michaels. During the mid 90s, Hart faced a fresh rivalry with Steve Austin, Triple H, and later, in the 2000s, Bret had intense feud with Vince McMahon. But they are nothing compared to his latest rival. Bret Hart announced on Monday that he is battling prostate cancer. On his instagram, he broke the news about his battle.

It is with great remorse that I feel compelled to speak truthfully to my friends, family and my millions of fans around the world. In the past few years, I've spent more than enough time paying the price for all those years trying to be the best there ever was as a professional wrestler. I executed excellently and my proudest claim was that I never seriously hurt or injured another wrestler in my 23 year career. I've paid a price for all that "fake" wrestling … Mark Helprin wrote: "We are all perfect clocks that Divinity has set to ticking when, even before birth, the heart explodes into a lifelong dance." I've had a great lifelong dance and I'm a survivor of many hard battles. I now face my toughest battle. With hesitation and fear, I openly declare myself in my fight against prostate cancer. In the next few days, I will undergo surgery with the hope of defeating this nemesis once and for all. My fans have always looked upon me as a hero and I've always done my best to live up to that in and out of the ring. I beat the odds when I suffered my stroke in 2002, but it is now yet again, that I … stand unafraid and face the tough road ahead of me, I will march toward this destiny with his spirit chanting in my ear. I make a solemn vow to all of those that once believed in me, the dead and the living, that I will wage my fearsome fight against cancer with one shield and one sword carrying my determination and my fury for life, emboldened by all the love that's kept me going this long already. Love is my weapon and I've got much of it around me all the time, for which I'm truly blessed and eternally grateful. My children, grandchildren, and my loving wife Steph have been and will constantly be at my side. I refuse to lose, I will never give in or give up, and I will win this battle or die trying. Most important of all, I hope can take the fight to prostate cancer. To be a leader in awareness and to set the example for men everywhere who find themselves in my very same shoes, that prostate cancer can be beaten. B x

A post shared by Bret (@brethitmanhart) on

He tweeted about it as well.

He wrote, in part, “I’ve had a great lifelong dance and I’m a survivor of many hard battles. I now face my toughest battle. With hesitation and fear, I openly declare myself in my fight against prostate cancer. In the next few days, I will undergo surgery with the hope of defeating this nemesis once and for all.”

After this announcement, wrestling greats, his well wishers, and millions of fans poured out their reactions. Among them was one of his biggest nemesis, Triple H. Hunter tweeted, “Thoughts and prayers with @BretHart and his family. Let’s all get in his corner to help him win this fight!!! #GetWellHitman.”

Bret’s good friend, Chris Jerico also wished him well. He wrote, “Since I was a teenager @brethitmanhart has been a hero and an inspiration to me. And today he continues to inspire me, by going public with his battle with cancer. Join me in standing by him and fighting with him until he beats this disease!! #HitmanForever”

Meanwhile, WWE Diva, Natalya, also the third generation from the Hart family into wrestling, shared her emotions on The Hitman’s battle, “I’m so proud of @brethitmanhart for coming forward about his battle with cancer and using his voice to help others. I know it’s taken a lot of courage for Bret to share this, but now his voice is a powerful tool that can help inspire the masses. If anyone can beat this, it’s Bret. #bestthereisbesttherewasbestthereeverwillbe”.She will be dedicating her next match to him.

Bret Hart was introduced to the Hall of Fame in 2006 by Steve Austin. In his 23 glorious years in wrestling, Hart was a seven-time world champion, holding WWF (now WWE) World Heavyweight Championship five times, and WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice. He was WWF World Heavyweight Champion for 654 days and the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion as a Canadian (first outside US). Among his glories were also five WCW/WWE United States Championship, two WWF Intercontinental Championship, and three world tag team champion. He was the first man to win WWF and WCW Triple Crown Championship.

Here’s wishing Bret ‘Hit man’ Hart a speedy recovery. As he says, “No one could take a shit kicking like Bret Hart.”