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Chyna cause of death: Coroner's Office confirm death of former WWE icon being treated as a possible overdose

Chyna was found dead at her home in California on Wednesday night at the age of 45

Former WWE wrestler Chyna died at her home in California
Former WWE wrestler Chyna died at her home in California

The death of the former WWE wrestler Chyna is being investigated as a possible overdose, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has confirmed.

Chyna, whose real name is Joan Laurer, was found dead at her California apartment in Redondo Beach by a friend after she had been unreachable for a few days. Police confirmed that there were no signs of foul play, and confirmed that initial signs showed Chyna had died before being found by her friend.

"From the preliminary investigation, it appears that the deceased passed away prior to being discovered by the friend," the Redondo Beach Police Department said.

The County Coroner have since confirmed that her death is being investigated as a possible overdose, with Chyna known to have taken illegal substances in the past as she struggled with life after leaving the WWE.

County Coroner spokesman Ed Winter confirmed to USA Today that early investigations suggest that a drug overdose is responsible for Chyna’s death, though a full autopsy will be completed in the next two days and toxicology reports will come back in the coming weeks.

Prescription pills were found at the scene by police, although they were not open, and there was no evidence of a suicide or a suicide note. The Coroner’s office also confirmed that no illicit drugs were found at the scene.

Chyna dies age 45

A Redondo Beach Police 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.

“The deceased female has been identified as Joan Lauer, 46 year[s] of age [she was actually 45]. Joan Laurer was also known as “Chyna” and was a professional wrestler and entertainer.

Former WWE wrestler Chyna alongside Jesse Venture in 1999

“The exact nature and cause of the death, as well as the general time of death is under investigation by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s department. Events leading up to the death of Joan Lauer is under investigation by the Redondo Beach Police Department to assists in the determination if the death was natural or accidental. Further details of the death investigation are not being released at this time.”

Chyna remains the only female wrestler to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship – a belt she won twice during her stint with the WWE from 1997 and 2001 – and also featured in other promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

Chyna made her WWE debut in 1997 as an enforcer for Triple H, and continued to work with the current executive vice-president of talent, live events and creative of the WWE when he formed the legendary stable D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels as well as The Corporation faction.

Chyna alongside her former WWE colleague Triple H

She went on to hold the Women’s Championship for 231 days in 2001, which came after her stints as Intercontinental champions in October 1999 and August 2000. She left the company following her final appearance at the Judgement Day pay-per-view in 2001.

Chyna also embarked on a career in pornography from 2004, and it’s known that her work in the adult industry is why she has not been added to the WWE’s Hall of Fame.

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