Ric Flair WWE
Wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair said he's done drinking after a life of alcoholism nearly ended his life. Pictured: Flair speaks onstage during the ESPN portion of the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Getty Images

Ric Flair’s recent medical scare has him making some major life changes. The wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer said he’s done drinking alcohol after nearly dying last month.

A trip to the hospital after complaining of a stomachache saved Flair’s life. He was suffering from kidney failure, and congestive heart failure would have been next if he didn't seek medical attention.

Flair, 68, blames his issues on a life of drinking alcohol.

“When I started in the business in 1972, we drove 3,000 miles a week. You’d wrestle twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. So it became natural to drink beer at night,” Flair told PEOPLE in a recent interview.

“I didn’t think I was an alcoholic, but I obviously was. I never drank when I was working, but as soon as work was over, right to the mill.”

It’s never been a secret that Flair likes to drink. He’s well known for living his Nature Boy gimmick outside of the ring, and there are countless stories about Flair at hotel bars during his time on the road. Even earlier this year, it was reported that Flair was kicked out of a bar in Indiana.

Flair tried to address his drinking issue in 2013 when he went to rehab. It happened after he appeared to be drunk during an event promoting WWE’s SummerSlam. WWE announcer Jim Ross hosted a panel that featured former and current wrestlers, and he was ultimately fired when Flair’s antics caused the event to go off the rails.

The incident didn’t seem to affect Flair’s long-term standing with the company, and he continued to appear on WWE TV over the next four years. Now that his alcohol use nearly killed him, Flair is determined to alter his lifestyle.

“I crashed in an airplane and broke my back, I’ve been hit by lightning,” Flair said. “But this is totally different. Anything I’ve been through before is nothing like this.”

Flair told PEOPLE that his daughter and current WWE superstar, Charlotte, was told that he wouldn’t survive. Flair had part of his bowel removed and a pacemaker inserted as part of the surgery that saved his life.

“He was slowly dying and didn’t know it,” Wendy Barlow, Flair’s fiancee, told PEOPLE. “Everything inside was shutting down.”

When it became public knowledge that Flair was in the hospital with serious health issues, he received an outpouring of support from wrestlers and fans. He’s one of the most beloved performers in the history of the business, considered by many to be the greatest professional wrestler of all time.

With a career that spanned five decades, Flair’s popularity has allowed him to crossover into mainstream pop culture. He’s recognized as having 16-world championships runs, a record that he currently shares with John Cena.

Flair believes his medical scare will open a new door for him to begin motivational speaking and help others that are dealing with similar issues.

“We shall see who Ric Flair is without the drink,” Barlow said. “He will always be that man who cares.”