Joanie Laurer, the former wrestling star known as Chyna, has died at the age of 45. Her body was found in her Redondo Beach, CA apartment. The news was announced Wednesday night in this message posted to her Facebook page.
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.
The 5’10” trailblazing wrestler made her WWF debut in 1997. Two years later, she became the first female wrestler to enter the Royal Rumble and participate in the King of the Ring Tournament.
As her wrestling career began to simmer down in the early ’00s, she made guest appearances on shows like 3rd Rock from the Sun and became a reality TV star, joining the fourth season cast of The Surreal Life in 2005. Around this time, she parlayed her notoriety into an adult film career — she starred in a total of six films between 2004 and 2013.
The cause of death is not known at this time, but the former wrestler had grappled with depression over the years. In 2010, she was hospitalized after overdosing on pain medication. Fox News reports that the investigation into her death is ongoing and that an autopsy will be performed in the coming days.
Despite her physique and physical strength, Chyna was a gentle person — something that was evident in her appearances on The Surreal Life. If you want to see what she was really like, you can check out some of Chyna’s best moments on the show.
Chyna and The Surreal Life cast move into the house.
Chyna looks for love.
Chyna and her celebrity housemates make a kung fu movie.