Former professional wrestler Chyna dies

Joanie Laurer was found dead on Wednesday in California

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Picture by: LOUIS LANZANO / AP/Press Association Images

Joanie Laurer, better known as Chyna has died, aged 45.

Laurer was best known for her work with the World Wrestling Federation, where she regularly competed against men in the ring throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. A pioneer for women's wrestling, Laurer became the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble in 1999.

Laurer left the WWF in 2001 and began a career in pornography shortly after.  The WWE released a statement after news of Laurer's death was revealed calling her a "pioneer".

"A physically striking and talented performer, Chyna was a true sports-entertainment pioneer. Not only was the Superstar dubbed "The Ninth Wonder of the World" a founding member of the groundbreaking faction D-Generation X, but she also holds the distinction of being the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble Match and the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship."

Laurer's own twitter account, confirmed the news, although the cause of death has not yet been confirmed.