21/04/2016 10:29 BST

Joanie Laurer Dead: WWE Wrestler 'Chyna' Dies, Aged 45

'A physically striking and talented performer and a true pioneer'.

Professional wrestler Joanie Laurer - better known to WWE fans as Chyna - has died at the age of 45.

Chyna was found dead by a friend at her home on Wednesday (20 April), with a post on her official Twitter page confirming the sad news.

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Joanie 'Chyna' Laurer

The post read: “It is with deep sadness we inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real-life superhero. Joanie Laurer, aka Chyna, the 9th wonder of the world has passed away.

“She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her.”

The City of Redondo Beach Police Department have said they received an emergency 911 call on Wednesday, after a friend visited Chyna to check on her welfare, having not heard from her for several days.

A statement quickly followed on the official WWE website, describing her as a “physically striking and talented performer”, as well as a “true sports-entertainment pioneer”.

They continued: “WWE extends its condolences to Laurer's family, friends and fans."

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Chyna with Paul Michael Levesque (aka HHH) in 1999

During her lengthy career in wrestling, Chyna held the distinction of being the only woman in history to hold the WWF (as it was then known) title of Intercontinental Champion, after defeating Jeff Jarrett back in 1999.

In addition to her wrestling, she also went on to have a career in the adult film industry, as well as a handful of reality TV appearances, most notably in ‘The Surreal Life’, opposite model Adrianne Curry and actor Verne Troyer.

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