Though Ric Flair remains in critical condition at an Atlanta-based hospital as he battles “multiple organ problems” following an emergency operation, a friend close to the wrestling legend tells PEOPLE fans should “not count him out” yet.
Cameron “Cam” Fordham, Flair’s marketing manager and co-Founder of Get Engaged Media, tells PEOPLE the 68-year-old wrestler “is a fighter.”
Fordham says, “Ric has shown that his whole life. Sixteen championship titles was not a walk in the park. Guy has been struck by lighting and survived a plane crash, so let’s not count him out one second.”
“Looking forward to hearing many more WOOOOO’s!” Fordham adds, referencing Flair’s signature “Nature Boy” catchphrase.
Flair, who wrestled for four decades during stints in WCW and WWE, has been hospitalized since the night of Aug. 11 after he complained of abdominal pain. Details of his condition have been sparse, with TMZ reporting he was placed into a medically induced coma before preparing for an unspecified operation on Monday. There is no word as of yet if Flair is out of a coma.
Flair’s daughter, Charlotte Flair, posted a photograph to Instagram on Aug. 15 that addressed her father’s condition — writing, “On behalf of my family and I, we want to THANK everyone for the prayers, texts, calls and support. Our Dad is a FIGHTER and your continued thoughts and prayers MEAN THE WORLD to us.”
His fiancée, Wendy Barlow, also wrote on Facebook Wednesday that “he still needs prayers” and that she is continuing “to make sure he is getting the best care possible.”
Fordham, 26, tells PEOPLE he and Flair talk daily and that the two have a relationship beyond Flair’s wrestling personality.
“He is like an uncle to me and he sees me like a son,” Fordham says — adding that he knows the star more by his birth name, Richard Fliehr. “He has one of the biggest hearts. He has helped so many people and he doesn’t expect anything in return. He is like a big kid and reminds me daily that he has more ‘swag’ than me.”
The two saw each other last week at a restaurant, later spending time together at Flair’s house where they worked through business ideas and his upcoming 30 for 30 documentary, among other things.
“He loves to hang out and talk,” Fordham shares, “He loves going to the lake and taking his boat out. He loves watching sports. He’s probably the most knowledgeable sports guy I’ve ever met. He knows every single thing about sports. Everything.”