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On Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, Joanie Laurer, famously known as WWE wrestler “Chyna,” passed away in her home in Redondo Beach, CA.

While speculation over Chyna’s cause of death continues, she will forever be remembered as a WWE icon and revolutionized the role of women in wrestling.

In 1996, Chyna won Rookie of the Year in the Professional Girl Wrestling Association. After working as male wrestler Triple H’s body guard in the WWF, she later broke into the ring, becoming the first woman to qualify for King of the Ring, Royal Rumble, and was the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship in 1999.

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She later broke into entertainment, appearing in TV shows including Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Mad TV, 3rd Rock from The Sun, The Surreal Life, and VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

In an interview in 2001 with The Houston Chronicle, Chyna told the press, “It’d be a shame to waste my physique and desire. I think I can be the female Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

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Not only did Chyna break barriers in a male-dominated sport, she also graduated with a 3.9 gpa from University of Tampa in Spanish Literature in under two years with a double major in Spanish Literature, can speak German, French and Spanish, served in the Peace Corps in Central America, is a strong supporter of the National Animal Rescue Coalition, she was a member of the ROTC, and she modeled. 

Before her career began, Chyna had little interest in wrestling only to later bill herself as the “9th wonder of the world,” in her autobiography.

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Chyna was an inspiration to many, and her fans continue to support her in the hopes that she will have a well deserved place in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. 

Images via Chyna/Facebook

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