LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Joanie Laurer, who earned international recognition as the muscle-bound professional wrestler and actress Chyna, was found dead at her her home in Redondo Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, according to local media. She was 45.
Her death was confirmed with a posting on her official Facebook page Wednesday evening.
"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."
No cause of death was announced and according to local news outlet KTLA, police were called to Laurer's Redondo home by a friend who had become concerned about her and discovered that she was not breathing. KTLA says the Los Angeles County Coroner is investigating the case.
Laurer overcame a difficult upbringing in Rochester, New York and found a natural flair for professional wrestling, winning Rookie of the Year honors in the PGWA (the Professional Girl Wrestling Association) in 1996 and then joining the World Wrestling Federation as a 'bodyguard' to male wrestler Triple H, but would soon be wrestling herself for the organization.
In addition to her work in the canvas ring, she appeared in both print media as model, and in both film and television, with roles on 3rd Rock from the Sun (2000) to The Surreal Life (2003) and VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (2008).