It is with a heavy heart that VH1 reports, we have lost one of our own. Wrestler and reality star Joanie Laurer, known professionally as Chyna, has sadly passed away at the age of 46, according to a statement made to her official Twitter account.
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 World 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.
Laurer found international stardom in the late ’90s as a professional wrestler in the WWE under the name Chyna and billed as “the 9th World Wonder of the World.” Following her wrestling career, she dabbled in acting, adult films, modeling, and, of course, reality TV.
Chyna found new life on VH1 on the fourth season of The Surreal Life opposite the likes of Da Brat, Adrianne Curry, Christopher Knight, and Verne Troyer. Chyna made an impression for her partying ways, her willingness to often be nude, and her volatile relationship with her ex-boyfriend wrestler Sean Waltman.
She later would open about her struggles with drugs, alcohol, and depression on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. At the time, the wrestler had a difficult time admitting that she was an addict.
At the Celebrity Rehab reunion show, Chyna had a full-circle moment in coming to terms with her addiction.
Chyna’s famous friends have taken to social media to remember their friend and note that she was a woman who had been through so much. Curry, who she had grown close to, remarked that, “There was a great lady under that struggle.”
Chyna went through a lot in her life. There was a great lady under that struggle. Rest in peace, old friend pic.twitter.com/G8zb3LHTTL
— Adrianne Curry (@AdrianneCurry) April 21, 2016
— Verne Troyer (@VerneTroyer) April 21, 2016
“#RIPChyna This is shocking to me and so sad… Have met Chyna throughout the years and she was a sweetheart. She even recently helped me promote my charitable efforts. What a great loss. Love to family, friends, and fans of Chyna. #TBT to last year with her at #SteelCityCon.”
“I love you Chyna #rip”
The wrestling world mourns the loss of Laurer today, noting that she made history and paved the way for other female wrestlers. She was remarkable in that she wrestled both men and women. She was also the only woman to qualify for prestigious tournaments such the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring.
— Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) April 21, 2016
— Lauren/Angelina Love (@ActualALove) April 21, 2016
Saddened to hear Joanie Laurer has passed. Nothing more can be said that hasn't already about the impact she had on our business. #RIPChyna
— Austin Healy Aries (@AustinAries) April 21, 2016
No official cause has been announced for Chyna’s death. We will update this article as we receive more information.