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Lawler discusses heart attack for first time

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

For the first time in nine days, professional wrestler and Memphis native Jerry Lawler discussed publicly his recovery from a heart attack.

"My voice is a little raspy, I guess, from having a breathing tube down my throat for a couple of days," he said.

Lawler  held a nearly 15-minute news conference from inside his home at 2:30 p.m., streamed live on myFOXMemphis.com. He answered questions related to his family's heath, his current health, the experience of having a heart attack, and the support from not only Memphis, but from the World Wrestling Entertainment global community.

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"I feel, considering what all has happened, I feel really well. My chest is still sore from the compressions on my chest, the CPR, our WWE doctor (administered). Our WWE doctor has an appropriate name - Dr. Sampson and he is as strong as Sampson - and he may have cracked a couple of ribs during the CPR but that's what really saved me."

Sitting on a throne next to his purple crown and dressed in a black World Wrestling Entertainment sweatshirt, Lawler went into detail of what he could recall when he suffered a heart attack during Sept. 10's live WWE broadcast in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

"The day of the heart attack I felt perfectly fine."

The 62-year-old said after spending eight days in a Montreal hospital, WWE's Vince McMahon sent his private jet to Canada and flew Lawler, Dr. Sampson and Lawler's girlfriend back to the Bluff City once doctors discharged him.

"We immediately went to see Dr. Bob McDonald at the Sutherland Clinic, a well recommend cardiologist, and he gave me all these EKGs and tests," Lawler said. "From what I gathered from the meeting with him is if you're going to have to have a heart attack, mine was as good an outcome as you can have."

"None of the major arteries were blocked. In fact all the major arteries were clear and are still clear. It was just two small arteries at the bottom of my heart. One required a stent open and the other a balloon or angioplasty. There was minimal damage done and that part of the heart can heal itself."

Lawler said the attack he suffered on live TV wasn't what he thought it could have been. He was reminded of his father who suffered through seven attacks. Lawler was 19 when his 59-year-old father passed away.

"Even though I was on TV when I had the heart attack, to me it wasn't the heart attack I envisioned," he said. "My father have seven heart attacks in his life and I was there for several of them and they were excruciating pain and that sort of thing. In my case I just there commentating and suddenly passed out and woke up in a hospital."

Lawler admitted that his attack is likely related to genetics.

"My father had seven heart attacks and passed away at 59 years old. Buried on my 19th birthday. My brother had open heart surgery and quadruple bypass so it was just something was probably going to happen."

Lawler attributed to his healthy lifestyle to minimizing the style of heart attack that he could have had.

Lawler said he felt some discomfort a week before the heart attack while he was vacationing with his girlfriend in Aruba.

"It was the first time I can remember in my life that I ever had any chest discomfort," he said. "It really wasn't chest pains ... it was just a discomfort and it felt a little different. I told Lauren and wrote it off an indigestion and literally it only lasted four or five minutes." 

Lawler said the evening of the heart attack, five minutes before air he was greeting fans and getting set up in the announcer's table for the broadcast.

The first WWE segment that featured a confrontation between CM Punk and Bret Hart was all that Lawler remembered.

"I can remember that like it happened five minutes ago and after that, that's all I literally remember."

Though Lawler was involved in a few segments in the ring during the live broadcast, the only thing he remembered was slumping down from the announcer's desk next WWE co-host Michael Cole.

"My broadcast partner Michael Cole said he noticed something was wrong because I started snoring. I was snoring and started shaking."

"The last thing I remember is Bret Hart and CM Punk talking to each other in the ring and next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital."

Unfortunately, Lawler didn't see any bright lights as he went into the attack.

"I didn't see any bright light, my dead relatives or anything," he said. "But of course Michael Cole suggested I didn't see the light because I was heading the other direction."

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