“Road Warrior Animal” (Joseph Laurinaitis), passed away at the age of 60.
Hulk Hogan first tweeted about Laurinaitis’ passing earlier this morning.
TMZ reports that Laurinaitis passed away at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, MO. Police received a call on Tuesday night at 11:49 pm from Laurinaitis’ wife. When officials arrived at the scene, Laurinaitis was already declared deceased.
Animal and Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) started teaming together as The Road Warriors in 1983. They are widely regarded as the greatest tag team of all time. They won many titles throughout their career, including the WWE/F Tag Team Championship, the NWA World Tag Team Championship and the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
Their last match as a team was defeating The Shane Twins in Japan in July of 2003, months before Hawk passed away on October 19, 2003. The team was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011 with Laurinaitis and Paul Ellering accepting the induction.
Laurinaitis continued to wrestle following Hegstrand’s passing. His last match was for WWE on July 17, 2012, where he defeated Heath Slater on SmackDown. He appeared on the 1,000th episode of RAW days later to join other WWE legends in beating down Slater.
WWE has issued a statement of their own on Animal’s passing, remembering him as one of the most intense Superstars to step in the ring. You can see their full statement below:
Road Warrior Animal passes away
WWE is saddened to learn that Joe Laurinaitis, known to WWE fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away at the age of 60.
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. 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.
The Road Warriors thrived in multiple stints with WWE, where they were known as The Legion of Doom. The team won the World Tag Team Titles on two occasions and were eventually enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame.
WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis’ family, friends and fans.
Laurinaitis and his wife were celebrating their wedding anniversary on Wednesday before police called. Laurinaitis posted the tweet below on Wednesday writing, “Happy Anniversary baby, love you!”
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
Happy Anniversary baby, love you! pic.twitter.com/ZYqpBgH9lY— RoadWarriorAnimal (@RWAnimal) September 22, 2020
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