WWE legend Chyna has been found dead at at an apartment in Redondo Beach, California at the age of 45, police have confirmed.
The former wrestler, whose real name is Joan Laurer, was found by a friend who immediately called police. Redondo Beach Police said in a statement that the friend had gone to check on Chyna after she had failed to answer her phone for a few days, and told emergency services that Chyna wasn’t breathing.
However, police reports confirm that she had died some time before being found.
The cause of death is not yet known, but officials say ‘there are no indications or signs that the death was a result of foul play,’ BBC reports.
— WWE (@WWE) April 21, 2016
News of the wrestler’s death was confirmed late Wednesday by postings on her official social media accounts.
A statement on her Twitter account 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.
Chyna first rose to fame in the late 90’s after she became the first woman to ever enter the Royal Rumble Match – marking an important moment for female wrestlers and women everywhere.
She has been credited by many for changing the role of women with WWE, with a critic writing in 2003: “She was not the damsel in distress who was forced to depend on a man for protection because she could not fight back.”
After exiting WWE in 2001, Chyna’s impressive record and vibrant personality earned her a second career in reality TV. She starred in shows including VH1’s The Surreal Life, Celebrity Rehab (it is known that she struggled with addiction) and Fear Factor. More recently, she also starred in a number of adult films.
WWE has since posted a statement on their website today to extend their condolences.
WWE is saddened to learn of reports that Joanie Laurer, best known for competing in WWE as Chyna, has passed away.
A physically striking and talented performer, Chyna was a true sports-entertainment pioneer. Not only was the Superstar dubbed “The Ninth Wonder of the World” a founding member of the groundbreaking faction D-Generation X, but she also holds the distinction of being the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble Match and the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship.
She remains the only female wrestler to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
You will be missed, Chyna.