The death of female wrestling legend Chyna at age 45 has come as shocking news to the world. Many fellow wrestlers and other sports figures and celebrities have been expressing their condolences and tributes on Twitter.
The news of the death of Chyna — original name Joanie Laurer — was originally confirmed by her manager, and has been widely reported in major media. A statement was posted to her official Twitter and Facebook accounts: “It is with deep sadness to inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero. She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her.
According to local media KTLA she was found dead in her apartment in Redondo Beach, California. Police arrived at the scene after a 911 call from a friend who had gone to check on her and found her not breathing. Chyna had not been seen or heard from in a few days. Police found her unresponsive and she produced dead at the scene. TMZ claims that an overdose is suspected.
The news has quickly gone viral and reactions have been swift. Now tributes are pouring in. Sometimes, it’s after someone has passes away that the world takes note of the legacy. Someone had to blaze a trail in the sport of female wrestling and that someone was Chyna, a star in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Many are reacting with sadness even as they note the pioneering life and career of the trailblazer Chyna, literally a towering, Amazonian figure who famously described herself as the “”9th Wonder of the World.”
We might take for granted now the prominence of women wrestlers in the WWE, but it was Chyna who led the way, rising to the pinnacle of the PGWA (Professional Girl Wrestling Association) in the mid-1990s as a founder of the iconic D-Generation X, and then going on to prominence as a WWE star, a first for a woman wrestler.
In later years she starred in movies and television and was also featured on such reality TV shows including ‘The Surreal Life’ and ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’ as she battled addiction.
Fellow wrestlers, athletes, and celebrities have taken to Twitter and here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
Shattered glass ceilings, kicked down doors, broke gender barriers, she was an anomaly & untouchable. Rest now-ur legacy lives on #RIPChyna
— Trish Stratus (@trishstratuscom) April 21, 2016
Greatest female wrestler ever
— TRAVIS SCOTT (@trvisXX) April 21, 2016
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
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) April 21, 2016
— Summer Rae (@RealSummerWWE) April 21, 2016
Chyna. Rest in peace.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 21, 2016
— Eva Marie (@natalieevamarie) April 21, 2016
My prayers go out to Joanie Laurer and her family. It's very sad to hear this news. Chyna was revolutionary for women in wrestling.
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 21, 2016
Not even believing @ChynaJoanLaurer is gone. She's graduating early…God must have needed an angel.
— Brooke Hogan (@MizzHogan) April 21, 2016
Joanie, I'm so sorry. I will always treasure our friendship and will never forget your kindness to my children. RIP https://t.co/pVV0KjbkFt
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) April 21, 2016
The epitome of the word pioneer. Godspeed my fellow Kowalski alum Chyna. You reinvented what a female wrestler is. May you be at peace.
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) April 21, 2016
All I can say is that Chyna was always incredibly kind to me. I never forgot that. Life can be rough even to the strongest amongst us.
— Gregory Shane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) April 21, 2016
— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) April 21, 2016
Reactions to the death of continue to pour in, as #Chyna and #RIPChyna are trending Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Many are continuing to offer condolences and pay tribute to the iconic female wrestler.