Sad news has rocked the world of the WWE. The organization has lost one of its most colorful characters in Chyna. Her real name was Joanie Laurer, and it is being reported by CNN that the woman passed away at the age of 45. She was found dead in her Los Angeles home. No cause of death has been given by authorities.
Chyna is known worldwide by legions of professional wrestling fans. Redondo Beach police confirm that the former WWE Diva was found dead in her apartment. The authorities were notified after a friend went to check in on her, and got no response. The cause of death is currently under investigation. At this time, there are no signs of foul play. This was the passage left on her official Facebook page this morning.
"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."
Laurer graduated from the University of Tampa, and immediately started training to become a professional wrestler in 1996. At the time, she was named "Rookie of the Year for the Women's Championship. A native New Yorker, Joanie became world famous in 1997, when she joined the World Wrestling Federation, known as the WWF before it became the WWE. She took on the stage name Chyna and was billed as The 9th Wonder of the World. This was in tribute to WWE icon Andre the Giant.
Chyna was known for her willingness to fight both men and women in the ring. She often struggled with her sexual identity, having a larger than normal stature and a tomboy persona. She was not the usual diva personality. And because of that she, enjoyed widespread success. She wrestled in the Royal Rumble and King of Ring, and was the only undefeated Women's Champion in WWF history.
Chyna enjoyed a strong wrestling career for the next four years. But in 2001, she was forced out of the WWF following a personal disagreement with WWE wrestler and executive Stephanie McMahon. She would only return to wrestling sporadically in the years that followed. And for a long period of time, she was forced to stop using her Chyna title because it was trademarked by the WWF. She later changed her name to Chyna legally.
After her wrestling career came to a close, she became a star of reality TV. She went onto appear in a few porno movies, and even modeled for Playboy in 2000 and 2002. She would go onto pursue a career in acting, landing a guess starring role on the hit NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. She also became a reality TV star, appearing on Fear Factor and The Surreal Life. Other WWE Superstars have shared their love and condolences on twitter, which you can read below.