Vince McMahon's decision to retire from WWE as chairman, CEO and head of creative had reportedly been in the works for a while.
According to PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson, a source said McMahon made the decision privately "about a week or so ago," with another source saying it was decided "around 10 days ago."
Johnson noted that Friday's announcement sent "shockwaves" through WWE since only a "closed circle" of people knew it was coming.
The soon-to-be 77-year-old McMahon, who purchased WWE from his father in 1982, announced his retirement Friday with the following tweet:
He also released a supporting statement in which he named his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, the co-CEO and chairwoman of WWE, while WWE president Nick Khan was named co-CEO as well:
McMahon thanked the WWE Universe in his statement and noted that he is still the primary shareholder in WWE and will continue to support the company in any way he can.
It has often been said by those close to him over the years that McMahon would never step away from WWE since it was his true passion in life and there was nothing else he wanted to do.
As such, it is likely that McMahon's retirement was necessitated by the recent uncovering of several payments he made to former WWE female employees in exchange for signing nondisclosure agreements.
An initial Wall Street Journal report published last month included allegations that McMahon paid a former WWE paralegal $3 million to remain silent about a sexual relationship they had.
A subsequent Wall Street Journal report found that three additional payments totaling $9 million were allegedly made to three other women who previously worked for WWE.
All of those payments allegedly covered up sexual relationships or sexual misconduct on the part of McMahon.
McMahon initially maintained his role as head of creative even as he temporarily stepped down as CEO and chairman. He even appeared on WWE programming on a few occasions.