While his character was a destructive monster, Animal was highly thought of outside of the ring. In his post, Hart opened up about the pair’s friendship and revealed how the Hall of Famer was always there to support him through his own struggles and tragedies throughout the years. You can view his tribute here.
“So sad to lose another dear friend. It was only last December in Anchorage that I got to see ‘Animal’ Joe Laurinaitis of the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom. We spoke at length about being two of the few left from our generation. Over the years whether it was my fight with cancer, the loss of my brother Smith or Jim Anvil Neidhart, he was always there for me. Joe was a good man and I’ll miss him. All of ‘the boys’ will be there to greet him at the gates. My thoughts and prayers to his family.”
Most of Hart’s followers echoed his sentiments, with many paying their respects to Animal and his family. Several also noted how he was one of their all-time favorites, especially in regard to his contributions to tag team wrestling.
As documented by WrestlingNews.co, several legends and contemporary stars also paid their respects to Animal. Hulk Hogan said that he loved him and acknowledged how he and his late tag team partner Road Warrior Hawk will be looking to take care of some unfinished business in the next life.
Jim Ross stated that he was “shocked” to hear of Animal’s passing. They were supposed to see each other on Saturday at a celebration for Jerry Lawler, and Ross was looking forward to catching up with his old friend.
Lawler described the news as “terrible” and said that he’d keep the former superstar’s family in his prayers.
Ric Flair also took to social media and revealed that he was very upset about the news. He recalled the feuds Animal and Hawk had with The Four Horsemen back in the day, stating that they always drew money and were fun to be a part of.
Animal rose to popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as one half of The Road Warriors/The Legion of Doom with Hawk, who died in 2003. The iconic pairing, whose gimmick was inspired by the Mad Max movies, found success in Jim Crockett Promotions and WWE during their storied careers. The duo and their manager Paul Ellering were inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame in 2011.