Chyna, Former WWE Superstar, Dies at 45

Professional wrestler, whose real name was Joanie Laurer, was found dead in her California home on Wednesday

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Former WWE superstar Chyna died on Wednesday. She was 45.

The wrestling legend was found dead in her home in Redondo Beach, California, her manager Anthony Anzaldo confirmed to TheWrap. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

“She was found peacefully in her home,” he said, but could give no further details at the time.

A message on Chyna’s official Facebook page also confirmed her death, telling fans: “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 WWE posted message on Twitter mourning her death soon after the news broke, mourning the loss.

“We are saddened to report the ‘9th Wonder of The World’ former WWE Women’s Champion and Intercontinental Champion Chyna has passed away,” the tweet said.

WWE royalty Stephanie McMahon also shared her remorse, writing: “I just heard the tragic news that @ChynaJoanLaurer has passed. She was truly a pioneer in our industry, and she will be missed.”

Born Joan Marie Laurer in Rochester, New York, Chyna began entering fitness competitions while at college and then trained at Wladek “Killer” Kowalski’s professional wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts, before jumping in the ring for her first match in 1995.

She then met WWF performers Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Shawn Michaels, who decided to bring her into the WWF as a bodyguard.

Despite Vince McMahon‘s initial doubt about the believability of a woman beating up a man in the ring, Chyna went on to become one of the most powerful forces in professional wrestling.

She was a one-time WWF Women’s Champion and also a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion (the only female performer to do so) and was the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring events, along with becoming a No. 1 contender for the WWF Championship.

Aside from her prestigious wrestling career, Chyna appeared in Playboy twice and was a cast member on VH1’s “The Surreal Life,” “The Surreal Life: Fame Games” and “Celebrity Rehab,” with Dr. Drew (in 2008). She also starred in a number of porn films and was a two-time AVN Award winner.

See the Facebook post and tweets honoring Chyna below.