Pro wrestling legend Road Warrior Animal, real name Joseph Laurinaitis, died at the age of 60, his family and WWE confirmed on Wednesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately known or released.
At this time, we would like to confirm the passing of Joseph Laurinaitis aka Road Warrior Animal at the age of 60. The family is planning to release a statement later today. At this time we ask for you to keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers. #OhWhatARush— RoadWarriorAnimal (@RWAnimal) September 23, 2020
WWE is saddened to learn that Joe Laurinaitis, known to WWE fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away.— WWE (@WWE) September 23, 2020
WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis' family, friends and fans. https://t.co/hurorEDVff
One half of the iconic tag team known as both the Road Warriors and Legion of Doom, Laurinaitis began his pro wrestling career in the 1980s and would go on to win various championships and earn numerous accolades during his four-decades in the industry.
Laurinaitis — and his tag-team partner Road Warrior Hawk (real name Michael Hegstrand) — were two of the most recognizable stars during WWE’s rise to prominence in the 1990s. Their names, painted faces and spike-studded, football-style shoulder pads were inspired by the blockbuster movie franchise “Mad Max” and made them an immediate fan favorite, regardless of the city, country or promotion they were working in.
Hegstrand passed away in 2003 at the age of 46.
In 2011, Laurinaitis, Hegstrand and Ellering were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame collectively as The Road Warriors.
Laurinaitis leaves behind three children, Joseph, James and Jessica. James Laurinaitis was a star linebacker for Ohio State University before being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft.
Laurinaitis’s two brothers, John and Marcus were also professional wrestlers. John Laurinaitis remains involved with WWE as an executive.
Tributes from around the wrestling world poured in on Wednesday morning after the news of Laurinaitis’s passing broke.
I’ve often been asked ...— Bully Ray (@bullyray5150) September 23, 2020
“Who is the greatest Tag Team of All Time?”
The answer has always been the same.
Rest in Power brother. 💪🏽
My sincere condolences to family, friends and fans of Animal all around the world. #RIPAnimal pic.twitter.com/hQ2Av7xw1X
I’m totally shocked to hear my friend and brother in Christ, Road Warrior Animal, has passed away. My thoughts and prayers as well as my heart, go out to the family. RIP my friend. 🙏— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) September 23, 2020
Devastated to hear about the passing of Road Warrior Animal 💔 pic.twitter.com/PbfVqcpXbC— David LaGreca (@davidlagreca1) September 23, 2020
Just found out that Road Warrior Animal has left us. Very sad to hear this, always such a nice guy whenever I would see him. So, I have a Tasmanian Devil tattoo on my right arm, he was my inspiration to get that before I started wrestling training. #RIP pic.twitter.com/iynxmE8pkb— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) September 23, 2020
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