Female Wrestling Star Chyna 45 Found Dead

A WWE star who became one of the most popular female wrestlers in history has been found dead at the age of 45.

Chyna, whose real name is Joan Marie Laurer, was found dead in Redondo Beach, southern California, on Wednesday.

Police say they were called by a friend who had become concerned at not hearing from her for several days.

In a statement, Sergeant Shawn Freeman said: "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."

Chyna's manager Anthony Anzaldo told NBC she had been "found lying peacefully" on her bed.

TMZ quoted anonymous sources as saying police were investigating a possible drug overdose, adding that prescription bottles - but no illegal drugs - were found at the home.

According to Chyna's website, she turned to fitness to escape a difficult childhood and rose to be considered a female pioneer in the male-dominated sport of wrestling.

She billed herself as the '9th Wonder of the World' - her wrestling predecessor Andre the Giant had already called himself the eighth.

The peak of her fame was in the late 1990s when she became the first woman to compete in the WWF Royal Rumble.

After leaving wrestling in 2001, she appeared in Playboy Magazine and on several reality television shows, including The Surreal Life in 2005.

She made six porn films between 2004 and 2013, including Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody, before heading to Japan to teach English for a while.

Throughout her career she struggled with addiction and in 2008 she appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew.

A 13-minute YouTube video was published last week in which she spoke about trying to set up a fresh food business but she appeared muddled and slurred some of her words.

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