Former WWE superstar Joanie Chyna Laurer has died at the age of 45. In a Twitter statement, her manager confirmed the sad news early Thursday.
Laurer’s manager told Pro Wrestling Sheet that the WWE superstar was found dead in her Redondo Beach, Calif. home Wednesday. A statement posted on her official Facebook page read:
“It is with deep sadness to inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero. Joanie Laurer aka Chyna, the 9th wonder of the world has passed away. She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her.”
The cause of her sudden death is unknown. But TMZ reports that police authorities are investigating her death as a case of possible drug overdose.
Joanie Chyna Laurer had struggled with substance abuse of late. Her ex-boyfriend and wrestler Sean Waltman told the Calgary Sun in 2005 that she was battling with drug and alcohol-related issues. He also stated that she was suffering from mental illness.
That same year, Joanie also stripped naked and jumped into a fish tank at a New York nightclub as reported by the New York Post. Also, during an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, she confessed that she would do cocaine if it was placed in front of her now.
However, during her appearance on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008, Chyna claimed that she wasn’t an addict.
Her untimely death though has left a void in everyone’s heart. As soon as news of her death was reported, fans began outpouring their grief on social media websites.
“She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her,” a statement read on her Twitter account.
“RIP Chyna/Joanie Laurer. Regardless of anything else, she was a trailblazer and an icon as a wrestler,” Eric Goldman tweeted.
“Do the right thing @TripleH …acknowledge Chyna on WWE tv..Your company owes it to her,” DJ Cevicii posted.
Pros from the wrestling industry too expressed their grief on her death.
“She broke barriers and changed women’s wrestling forever. Who knows where most of us would be without her #ripchyna,” Traci Brooks posted.
“Someone who didn’t get enough credit for what she did for women in wrestling. Sadly she will get that recognition now. RIP Chyna,” Nick Jackson tweeted.
Joanie Chyna Laurer became the first woman to take part in the WWF’s Royal Rumble event. She later parted ways with WWE in 2001. In 2011, she retired from the world of wrestling.
Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Chyna