REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (April 21, 2016) — Joanie Laurer, the ground breaking female wrestler known as Chyna, has died.
Police in Redondo Beach, California confirm that Laurer, 45, was found dead in her apartment on Wednesday. Police say they were notified by a friend who went to check on her and found Laurer unresponsive. The cause of death is under investigation, but police say there are no signs of foul play.
“It is with deep sadness to inform you that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero. Joanie Laurer aka Chyna, the 9th wonder of the world, has passed away,” said a post on her website.
After graduating from the University of Tampa, Chyna started training in the world of professional wrestling and in 1996 she was named the “Rookie of the Year for the Women’s Championship,” according to her website.
She wrestled in the Royal Rumble and King of Ring tournaments and became the only undefeated Women’s Champion in WWF (World Wrestling Federation) history. After issues with WWE, Laurer and the company parted ways in 2001.
She left the wrestling business altogether in 2011 after stops at New Japan Pro Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.