Former pro wrestler, entertainer 'Chyna' found dead in Redondo Beach home

- An investigation was underway Wednesday to determine how and when actress and former professional wrestler Joan Laurer, who was better known as Chyna, died in her Redondo Beach apartment.

Officers went to Chyna's apartment in the 900 block of Esplanade Wednesday evening after they received a 911 call from a friend of the 46-year-old performer, who told them she had gone to her residence to check on her
welfare since Laurer had not answered her phone in several days, said Redondo Beach police Sgt. Shawn Freeman.

Officers entered the apartment and found Laurer dead, Freeman said adding, there were no indications the death was a result of foul play. The cause and time of death of death will be determined by an autopsy by the
coroner's office, Freeman added.

Laurer's autopsy may be delayed a few days because of a backlog of scheduled autopsies, according to the coroner's office.

Laurer's manager, Anthony Anzaldo, told news media outlets that she died in her sleep.

On her Facebook page, TheRealChyna.com, Felix, a member of Team Chyna, posted this message about 9 p.m. Wednesday: "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.''

Laurer, who was listed as 5 feet 10 and 180 pounds, rose to fame in the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1997 by wrestling men and was credited with putting women's wrestling on the map. She also posed for Playboy, made a few adult films and appeared on the reality show, "The Surreal Life,'' in 2005.

The celebrity news website TMZ.com reported that Chyna had also struggled with drug addiction for years and appeared on the reality show, "Celebrity Rehab,'' in 2008.

Laurer was born in Rochester, New York, in a house plagued by family violence, according to broadcast reports.

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