Former WWE Star Chyna Dead at 45
Former WWE star Joanie “Chyna” Laurer has died at age 45. She was found dead in her bed in her Los Angeles home, according to her manager. No cause of death has been specified as of yet. The news was further confirmed on Chyna’s official Twitter account by Felix, of Team Chyna.
“It is with deep sadness to inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero,” the post reads. “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.”
#RipChyna ???????????? all of us on team Chyna love you and will love you forever babe.
— Chyna (@ChynaJoanLaurer) April 21, 2016
Laurer first debuted in WWE in 1997 as the bodyguard for Triple H. She quickly rose to prominence as a member of D-Generation X, and would go on to become the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship. She was also a former women’s champion was among the roster of WWE female talents who posed for Playboy during the early/mid-2000s. After her wrestling career came to an end, she appeared on VH1’s The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, where she sought help for her substance abuse problems. This death is the latest tragic loss for the professional wrestling world, as ECW star Balls Mahoney passed away last week at the age of 44.
A source close to the situation states Laurer had been on anxiety and sleep medications in recent weeks. Given her past, it’s sad to think her demons might have finally overcome her. Regardless, we’d like to send out our condolences to Ms. Laurer’s family and friends throughout this difficult time. She broke boundaries for women in wrestling, more than many today might even realize. She deserves to be remembered for all she accomplished, and for everything she meant to the success of the Attitude Era.
Hopefully, WWE acknowledges her passing, either on Thursday night’s U.S. airing of Smackdown, or on this Monday’s Raw. The company has been hesitant in the past to recognize past stars who’ve died young for fear of perpetuating a negative stigma about the damages of the wrestling industry, but I feel it’s more than deserved here, especially since Chyna was integral to the early success of Triple H, who’s pretty much next in line to be the boss of the entire company in the years to come. The company really should pay its respects, even if it’s a graphic at the start of the show, a ten-bell salute, or one of those amazing music video packages the WWE production team does so well. Either way, this is a sad situation all-around.
Rest In Peace, Chyna.