MANILA, Philippines—Legendary tag team competitor Road Warrior Animal, real life Joe Laurinaitis, has passed away. He was 60.
WWE announced Laurinaitis’ death through its official website and official social media accounts.
Laurinaitis alongside tag partner Hawk, real life Michael Hegstrand, made up the Road Warriors when they competed in the WWE and is considered as one of the greatest teams in the promotion’s history with two reigns in 1991 and 1997.
After Hegstrand’s death in 2003, Laurinaitis once again captured WWE tag team gold when he partnered with a young Jon Heidenreich for his third and final reign.
Laurinaitis and Hegstrand, however, didn’t just compete in the WWE and had successful runs in other promotions and was known as the Legion of Doom.
WWE is saddened to learn that Joe Laurinaitis, known to WWE fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away.
WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis’ family, friends and fans. https://t.co/hurorEDVff
— WWE (@WWE) September 23, 2020
LOD won titles in All Japan, AWA, and NWA.
Laurinaitis was eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 along with Hegstrand and manager “Precious” Paul Ellering.
“WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis’ family, friends and fans,” said the promotion in a statement.
Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE’s Executive Vice President and Global Talent Strategy & Development, took to Twitter to express his respect to the wrestling legend.
“The Road Warriors were a team who personified excitement, physicality, and the undeniable ability to energize the crowd,” wrote Levesque. “Stephanie McMahon and I join the Superstars, legends, and our WWE fans in offering our condolences to Joe Laurinaitis’ family at this difficult time.”
Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, real life Terry Bollea, considered as two of the greatest performers ever, also took to social media to pay respects to Animal.
“I am more than saddened to hear about the loss of my good friend and great opponent Joe Laurinaitis of the legendary Road Warriors. They were iconic! The Road Warriors and the Four Horseman drew more money and had more fun and entertained dans worldwide at the highest level. RIP,” posted Flair.
“RIP Animal, love you my brother, I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of! God speed and blessings to your beautiful family, one love4Life. HH,” wrote Bollea.
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