Chyna, Former WWE Wrestler, Dead at 45
UPDATE (4/22): More sad news following the death of Chyna: According to PEOPLE, the former WWE superstar was “surrounded by medication” when authorities found her dead in her apartment, stoking as-yet-unconfirmed speculation that she may have died from an accidental drug overdose.
Ed Winter, the Los Angeles County Department Assistant Chief Coroner, told the magazine that Joan Laurer was pronounced dead at the scene when officers arrived, and that she may have actually passed away days prior to being found, as early as Sunday April 17. The case is not being investigated as a possible suicide.
Dr. Drew, who treated the former wrestler for substance abuse on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew back in 2008, told PEOPLE that he believes drug addiction is to blame.
“I am very sad for Joanie and her loved ones, but I am also terribly angry because I suspect addiction may have taken another life,” he said.
ORIGINAL POST (4/21): Pop culture is mourning the loss of yet another great icon: Chyna, former WWE wrestler, has died.
According to CNN, police in Redondo Beach, California have confirmed that the sports entertainment legend, real name Joan Laurer, was found dead in her apartment on Wednesday (April 20). She was only 45.
While the cause of death is still under investigation, reports indicate that there were no “signs of foul play,” and that officers were alerted by a friend of the wrestler who had gone to check on Laurer and found her unresponsive.
The news of her passing was confirmed on her official website with a statement that reads, “It is with deep sadness to inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero. Joan Laurer a.k.a. 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.”
Laurer graduated from the University of Tampa in 1992. Throughout the ’90s, she would train to become a wrestler, officially joining the WWE (then WWF) as a founding member of D-Generation X alongside Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Shawn Michaels in 1997. In 1999, she became the first woman to ever enter the Royal Rumble.
Over the course of her professional wrestling career, Chyna would go on to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship (the only woman to do so) and the WWE Women’s Championship, becoming the latter’s only undefeated champion in WWE history. She left the company in 2001 to pursue acting.
Messages of mourning and sadness have already begun pouring out from the WWE community across social media, echoing the sentiment that not only will Chyna be greatly missed, but also that her incredible impact on professional wrestling will never be forgotten.
— WWE (@WWE) April 21, 2016
#RipChyna all of us on team Chyna love you and will love you forever babe.
— Chyna (@ChynaJoanLaurer) April 21, 2016
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) April 21, 2016
— Amy Dumas (@AmyDumas) April 21, 2016
— Total Divas (@TotalDivas) April 21, 2016
Joanie, I'm so sorry. I will always treasure our friendship and will never forget your kindness to my children. RIP https://t.co/pVV0KjbkFt
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) April 21, 2016
Just woke up to the news of @ChynaJoanLaurer passing. So sad to hear, she was an amazing lady & I will miss her greatly!!
— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) April 21, 2016
Stars We’ve Lost in 2016