Former WWE superstar Chyna was found dead in her apartment in Redondo Beach, California. Her body was located by a friend, who immediately called the police. It was confirmed that she had passed away prior to being found.
Chyna, whose real name is Joan Laurer, debuted on the wrestling scene in 1997. At the time, she was an enforcer for Triple H, and became a member of the D-Generation X. Laurer was the only female wrestler to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship; a title she held twice. She also won the WWF Women's Championship once, and was the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and the King of the Ring.
Laurer retired from the WWF in 2001, though she continued wrestling occasionally for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Her post-WWF career also included stints on VH1's The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. She also had a successful career in the porn industry, making six films between 2004 and 2011.
A statement released by the Redondo Beach Police contained a few details of her death, but no cause has been divulged. The statement read:
On April 20, 2016, Redondo Beach Police Officers were dispatched to an apartment unit in the 900 block of Esplanade. The Redondo Beach Police received a 9-1-1 call from a friend of the apartment unit resident that the female inside was not breathing. The friend told Redondo Beach Police that the female had not answered her phone in a few days, and went to the location to check on her welfare.
Officers arrived on scene and discovered a deceased female inside the location. There are no indications or signs that the death was a result of foul play. From the preliminary investigation, it appears that the deceased passed away prior to being discovered by the friend.
Laurer's official Twitter account also released a statement:
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.
After the news broke, her former colleagues and fans took to Twitter to share tributes, messages of sympathy, and express their condolences.https://twitter.com/TripleH/status/723129417367732225 https://twitter.com/BubbaRayDudley/status/723134591255609344 https://twitter.com/gailkimITSME/status/723134624109465600 https://twitter.com/ashleymassaro11/status/723145042370662400 https://twitter.com/WWERoadDogg/status/723118511242002432 https://twitter.com/JericicosWWE/status/723098972588498944 https://twitter.com/RealPaigeWWE/status/723099981960372224
Our thoughts are with her friends, family and fans during this incredibly difficult time.