Former WWE women’s wrestler Chyna was found dead at her home on Wednesday. The former Women’s Champion, real name Joanie Laurer, was just 45 years old at the time of her death, with the cause of death yet to be determined. The story of her death shocked many people all over the world, including wrestling fans wondering if it was indeed true or another celebrity death hoax. On Wednesday, her agent confirmed the news which was originally posted via Chyna’s Facebook fan page. It has now brought plenty of reactions to the news on Thursday as media reports have become more available on the story.
According to E! Online on April 21, many of the stars of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and other wrestling companies have been reacting to the sudden death news. They’ve included Triple H, real name Paul Levesque, and his on-and-off screen wife, Stephanie McMahon. HHH called her “A pioneer whose star shined bright.” The woman who Chyna last wrestled in WWF/E before she left the company was Amy Dumas, better known as “Lita.” She also posted to Twitter saying, “So tragic. My heart is heavy today reflecting on this amazing woman.” Former TNA wrestler Angelina Love also referred to Chyna as a “true pioneer for women’s wrestling,” and thanked her for paving the women for other women’s wrestlers.
Chyna was known for her large, imposing stature in the ring and would work alongside the stable known as D-Generation X which included Triple H, X-Pac, Shawn Michaels and originally Rick Rude. Perhaps her biggest accomplishments included being the first women’s wrestler to capture the Intercontinental Championship, enter the Royal Rumble and enter the King of the Ring. She also is known for having victories over several prominent men’s wrestlers including Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Triple H.
Chyna last appeared with WWE in 2001 when she defended the WWE Women’s Championship against Lita at Judgment Day. Although Chyna won that particular match, she would vacate the title and left due to “personal reasons.” It was later reported by Laurer that she was sent him after a meeting with Vince McMahon and then received a fax indicating WWE no longer needed her services. After that she had a brief stint in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002 and then TNA wrestling in 2011. Her career would also include posing for Playboy magazine twice, appearing on VH1’s “The Surreal Life” celebrity show, and also venturing into the world of adult films.
The My News LA site reported that Joanie Laurer’s time and cause of death is unknown. An autopsy is expected to be performed by the coroner’s office in the Redondo Beach area. However, various sources have reported there is a “backlog of scheduled autopsies” there and it could delay Laurer’s autopsy for a few days.