Chyna, former professional wrestler, dead at age 46

LOS ANGELES -- Former professional wrestler and actor Joan Laurer, better known as Chyna, has died at the age of 46, her manager said Thursday.

According to her manager, Chyna was found dead in her bed at her Redondo Beach, California, home on Wednesday.

Redondo Beach police said a friend went to check on Chyna at her apartment on Esplanade after she hadn't answered her phone in days.

Investigators said the Los Angeles County Coroner's Department would determine the exact cause of death, but stated there were no indications of foul play.

Chyna rocketed to fame as a wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1997 to 2001.

She began lifting in her hometown of Rochester, New York, at the age of 15, and at one time could reportedly bench press 325 pounds.

Chyna was open about growing up in a home with alcoholism and would later have her own documented struggle with drugs.

In 2007, viewers saw a different side of Chyna when she appeared on the reality TV show "The Surreal Life." She also appeared on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" the following year.

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Chyna later pursued a career in porn, stating her first adult film gave her a new found confidence to get back on her feet.

She also posed in "Playboy" magazine and had a New York Times' best-selling autobiography titled "If They Only Knew."

Chyna's manager said she was on prescription medication for sleep deprivation and severe anxiety, but stated he was not sure if that played a role in her death.

Many media reports listed her age as 45, but her manager told our sister station KABC that she actually turned 46 in December. Redondo Beach police and the coroner's department also identified her as 46 years old.
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