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WWE star Roman Reigns gives up his Universal Championship title due to leukaemia

The four-time world champion told wrestling fans on Monday he had been diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago but was in remission. Credit: AP

WWE wrestler Roman Reigns said he is to step away from the ring because he has leukaemia.

The 33-year-old, whose real name is Joe Anoa'i, made the announcement on Monday night to open the episode of "Raw".

The wrestler was originally diagnosed in 2008 at 22-years-old, though he quickly went into remission and he has been fighting the disease since.

The four-time world champion said he can no longer "be that fighting champion."

The WWE wrestler said: "Y'all have made my dreams come true.

"It didn't matter if you cheered me or you booed me, you've always reacted to me and that's the most important thing and for that I have to say thank you so much."

He plans on returning to the ring when he gets healthy, the WWE's universal champion said whilst addressing the crowd.

"I will beat this and I will be back so you will see me very, very soon," he added.

Anoa'i, who played football at Georgia Tech, has appeared in the last four main events at WrestleMania.

WWE said in a statement: "Reigns is taking his battle with leukaemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease."

Wrestling fans around the world have sent messages of support with #ThankYouRoman on social media.