Joanie Laurer has died. Laurer, who was best known by her wrestling name Chyna, was found dead in her apartment in Redondo Beach, California, on Wednesday, April 20. No cause of death has been announced, but according to TMZ, police are investigating the death as a possible drug overdose. It was reported that no illegal drugs were found at the scene. Joanie Laurer was 45-years-old.
According to TMZ’s report, Joanie Laurer was found dead in her apartment bedroom by a friend after she had not been heard from for several days. A statement about the WWE legend’s death was posted to Joanie Laurer’s official Twitter account. The statement confirmed Laurer’s death and described the wrestling superstar as “a true icon, a real life superhero.”
Many WWE fans are upset that Chyna had not been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame like fellow female wrestlers Jacqueline, Sunny, Alundra Blayze, Lita, and Mae Young. In an interview last year with WrestlingInc.com, Joanie Laurer said she was passionate about someday being in the Hall of Fame, but that she wasn’t worrying about it because she had plenty of other stuff going on.
“A lot of the fans are like ‘let it go’ and make it a personal issue,” Laurer said. “It’s a part of the media and pop culture I was talking about. So I go on talk shows and radio shows and that’s what gets the ratings and that’s the first thing I’m bombarded with. People will never let that go. That’s not where I want to go. There’s a lot more happening now.”
While she died before getting that long-awaited Hall of Fame induction, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer was a WWE trailblazer, becoming one of the original members of D-Generation X and the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble. In more recent years, Joanie appeared on the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life, and she later released several adult films. Sadly, fans saw Laurer’s addiction problems first hand in 2008 when she appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab.
As her final public act for her fans, Joanie Laurer posted a disturbing early morning video to her YouTube page earlier this week in which she seemed to be slurring her words as she made a smoothie. You can see Joanie’s final video message to her fans posted below.
Reaction to Joanie Laurer’s death has rocked Hollywood and the wrestling world. Several fellow WWE stars posted social media messages about Chyna, as did her former Surreal Life co-star Verne Troyer and actress Melissa Joan Hart, who worked with Laurer on the sitcom Sabrina, The Teenage Witch back in 2002. Both Hulk Hogan and Mick Foley recalled that Chyna was always kind to their kids.
In addition to her recent video message to fans, Joanie Laurer posted a selfie to Instagram on Sunday. In the photo, Laurer appeared to be happy and looked healthier than she did in the video. Joanie captioned the pic with a message telling her fans to enjoy their day and to be happy.
“Happy Sunday my lovelies I hope you all enjoy your day with your family. Be Happy, Love each other, and Live in Peace!”
Last year, a Kickstarter campaign was started to raise funds to make a documentary on Joanie Laurer’s life. Sadly, no one expected the wrestling icon’s last chapter to come so soon.
Take a look at the shocking final video posted by Joanie Laurer on her YouTube page earlier this week.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]