WWE wrestling legend Chyna dies, aged 45

Published Thursday, Apr 21 2016, 08:32 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
WWE legend Chyna has died, aged 45.

The iconic wrestler – real name Joanie Laurer - passed away "peacefully" at her home in Redondo Beach, California, according to her manager.

A statement posted to Twitter read: "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."

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Chyna pictured at a charity gala in June 215.

Cause of death has yet to be confirmed but police said there is no indication of foul play.

A statement from police claims a friend called 911 to report she hadn't heard from Chyna for a "few days" and when she went to check on her friend, she was not breathing. "Officers arrived on scene and discovered a deceased female inside the location. There are no indications or signs that the death was a result of foul play. From the preliminary investigation, it appears that the deceased passed away prior to being discovered by the friend.

"The exact nature and cause of the death, as well as the general time of death is under investigation by the LA County Coroner's department," added police.

"Events leading up to the death of Joan Lauer is under investigation by the Redondo Beach Police Department to assists in the determination if the death was natural or accidental. Further details of the death investigation are not being released at this time."

Chyna And Triple H In WWF Smackdown

© Getty Images / Handout

She started with WWE - then WWF - in a bodyguard role for Triple H.

For those who watched WWE she was a true icon who pushed the boundaries in the ring. Dubbed the 9th Wonder Of The World for her incredible strength and stature, she was the only female to win the then-WWF Intercontinental Championship, the first female to compete in Royal Rumble and King of the Ring, and won several matches against her male competitors.

She left WWE in 2001 and went on to wrestle for other organisations. Outside the ring, she posed nude for Playboy – which was worked into a storyline featuring Right To Censor – and appeared in a porn movie called 1 Night In China, followed by a further five adult features.

Her autobiography, If They Only Knew, was released in 2001. She also appeared in several TV shows including Sabrina The Teenage Witch, playing a woman faking injury to get compensation from Sabrina after a car collision. She also took part in Celebrity Rehab's first series, admitting she struggled with alcohol abuse.

Among those to pay tribute was WWE's Chief Brand Officer - and wrestler - Stephanie McMahon, who tweeted: "I just heard the tragic news that @ChynaJoanLaurer has passed. She was truly a pioneer in our industry, and she will be missed. #RIPChyna."