WWE’s Legion Of Doom Legend Joseph Laurinaitis Dies Aged 60
WWE legend Joseph Laurinaitis has died at the age of 60.
The wrestling icon, who was otherwise known as Road Warrior Animal, died on Tuesday night, September 22, of natural causes.
According to law enforcement officials, Laurinaitis passed away at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri, after emergency personnel were called to the scene.
A source told TMZ Sports police received a call just before midnight on Tuesday from the wrestler’s wife. However, when deputies arrived at the scene emergency personnel had already declared him deceased.
Laurinaitis, who was one half of the tag team Legion of Doom, is considered one of the best performers of all-time and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
He officially announced his retirement from the ring in February 2014 after spending most of his WWE career with partner Hawk, winning multiple tag team championships as Legion of Doom and as as The Road Warriors in the AWA, NWA and WCW.
Laurinaitis and his partner Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) were two of the biggest stars in wrestling during the 1980s and 90s. As the Road Warriors – later the Legion of Doom – the duo headlined several huge events, with their fame reaching its peak after they signed with Vince McMahon in 1990.
Although the pair tried to make a comeback in 2003, Hegstrand tragically died later that year at the age of just 46 after suffering from a heart attack.
Since news of Laurinaitis’ passing broke, tributes have been pouring in from fans and from those within the industry, with Hulk Hogan being the first to break the news. ‘RIP Animal,’ he tweeted. ‘Love you my brother, I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of! God speed and blessings to your beautiful family, one love4Life. HH.’
The news was later confirmed on Animal’s own Twitter page, with a statement saying: ‘At this time, we would like to confirm the passing of Joseph Laurinaitis aka Road Warrior Animal at the age of 60.’
The statement continued:
The family is planning to release a statement later today. At this time we ask for you to keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.
Tommy Dreamer, who performed in both WWE and ECW, further confirmed the news by tweeting a picture of Animal alongside the caption: ‘My friend @RWAnimal has passed away.’
Others also paid tribute to the former WWE fighter:
Our thoughts are with Joseph’s loved ones at this difficult time. Rest in peace.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.