Former wrestler Joanie “Chyna” Laurer shocked the wrestling world when she tragically died last week at the age of 45. The 1990s WWE star died of a combination of a form of the tranquilizer Valium and the sleeping pill Ambien, her manager, Anthony Anzaldo, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. The entertainer famously struggled with drug addiction and even appeared on Vh1’s “Celebrity Rehab” to try to get sober.
Originally, it was reported that no illegal drugs were found in Chyna’s Redondo Beach, California, home, which is not surprising because she was prescribed the pills. Tragically, she did not use the pills properly, the LA Times noted.
Her manager insisted, however, the star’s death was not suicide. It was an accident. “You are not going to find 60 pills in her stomach,” Anzaldo said. He was adamant that she did not use illegal drugs.
A trailblazer of the highest order and a critical component of wrestling’s most successful era. Rest easy, Joanie. pic.twitter.com/RwEFmaayqm
— The Tag Rope (@tagropemag) April 21, 2016
Despite what her manager told the publication, an official ruling by a coroner has not yet been made. It could be months until a toxicology test reveals if she died from a drug overdose.
Days before her untimely death, Chyna was slated to appear on the A&E documentary-style show “Intervention,” where concerned friends and families try to get addicts to seek treatment. “An interventionalist was already lined up, as was a facility that was going to take her for 90 days,” Anzaldo told TMZ Monday. Some of her close friends from the WWE, like Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin, were going to participate in the intervention.
It was Anzaldo who discovered her unconscious in her bedroom. "I found her," he said, adding he thought she died in her sleep. "She looked peaceful."
Chyna's brain will be donated to science to help research the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE, which mimics Alzheimer’s symptoms, is caused by repeated hits to the head and has afflicted many former football players.
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