Joe Laurinaitis, better known in the professional wrestling world as Road Warrior Animal, passed away at the age of 60 this week. The news was broken via his personal Twitter account, which wrote on Wednesday morning, "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." TMZ is now reporting that Animal's died of natural causes.
The outlet reported on Wednesday that Animal died at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri. At the time he was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife, and she made the call to emergency services at 11:49 p.m. on Tuesday night. Emergency responders had already declared him dead by the time authorities arrived.
Since the news broke, numerous fellow wrestlers have reached out to offer their condolences, including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Diamond Dallas Page.
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— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) September 23, 2020
I Am More Than Saddened To Hear Of 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 Horsemen Drew More Money And Had More Fun And Entertained Fans Worldwide At The Highest Level. RIP 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/eiZ2udqGNm— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) September 23, 2020
Wow this shocked me... My good buddy @RWAnimal passed today. What Great guy he was! My deepest sympathies go out to Marcus & Johnny and the entire family! You will be deeply missed my brother! RIP #RoadWarriorPOP Love you bro DDP pic.twitter.com/RWUpmbsU7p— Diamond Dallas Page (@RealDDP) September 23, 2020
WWE quickly released a statement after the news broke — "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."
"One of the most intense Superstars to ever step into the squared circle, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Animal spent the majority of his career alongside his tag team partner, Hawk," the statement continued. "Together, they formed what was arguably the most successful, popular and feared tandem of all time — The Road Warriors. With their intimidating face paint, outfits covered in metal spikes and impressive array of power moves, the duo captured titles and destroyed opponents wherever they roamed. Their dominance made them so popular that the phrase "Road Warrior pop" has been used in locker rooms to describe particularly deafening reactions from the crowd ever since."