WWE's Road Warrior Animal dies aged 60

WWE’s Road Warrior Animal dies aged 60 as Hulk Hogan pays tribute to his ‘brother’ in heartfelt post

  • The wrestler was one half of legendary wrestling tag-team the Legion of Doom along with his partner Road Warrior Hawk in the 1980s and 90s 
  • Animal died 12 days after his 60th birthday and appeared on the Legions of Raw podcast just a day before his death 
  • A statement read: ‘At this time, we would like to confirm the passing of Joseph Laurinaitis aka Road Warrior Animal at the age of 60’ 
  • WWE hailed Animal, who was 6’2 and weighed 300lbs, as ‘one of the most intense Superstars to ever step into the squared circle’ 
  • Paying tribute, Hulk Hogan wrote: ‘God speed and blessings to your beautiful family,one love4Life’

Joseph Laurinaitis, known by his ring name Road Warrior Animal, has died aged 60. 

The WWE star was one half of legendary wrestling tag-team the Legion of Doom along with his partner Road Warrior Hawk in the 1980s and 90s.

Fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan was among those who took to social media to pay their respects to Animal following his passing.

Passing: Joseph Laurinaitis, known by his ring name Road Warrior Animal, has died aged 60 (pictured in 2015) 

His death was confirmed on his Twitter account with a statement that read: ‘At this time we ask for you to keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers’ 

His death was confirmed on his Twitter account with a statement that read: ‘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’.

Taking to Twitter, Hulk wrote: ‘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.’

Animal died 12 days after his 60th birthday and appeared on the Legions of Raw podcast just a day before his death. 

Friend: Fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan was among those who took to social media to pay their respects to Animal following his passing (pictured in 2018) 

Hulk wrote: ‘RIP Animal,love you my brother, I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of!’

WWE hailed Animal, who was 6’2 and weighed 300lbs, as ‘one of the most intense Superstars to ever step into the squared circle’. 

After leaving WWE in 1992, the duo went on to work for New Japan Pro Wrestling and WCW before they returned to their first home in 1997.  

Animal, along with Hawk, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 by fellow wrestler Dusty Rhodes.   

Hawk, whose real name was Michael Hegstrand passed away in 2003 aged 46 following a sudden heart attack. 

Icon: The WWE star was one half of legendary wrestling tag-team the Legion of Doom along with his partner Hawk in the 1980s and 90s

He and Animal were said to have been working on a book about their careers at the time of his death. 

Animal, who became a born-again Christian in 2001, announced his retirement from the ring in February 2014.

The wrestler and his ex-wife Julie have two children, a son named James, 34, and a daughter called Jessica, 31. He is also believed to have a 40-year-old son named Joseph from a previous marriage. 

Animal was previously named as part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their careers and the company concealed the risks of injury. 

The suit, filed by 50 former wrestlers, was dismissed by US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant in September 2018.   

Icon: Animal died 12 days after his 60th birthday and appeared on the Legions of Raw podcast just a day before his death (pictured in 2015) 

Wrestling manager and former professional wrestler Ric Flair also paid tribute to Animal on Twitter.

He wrote: ‘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’.

Several of Animal’s fans took to social media to send their condolences to his family and friends in the wake of the tragic news.

One wrote: ‘Condolences to the family. This is very sad news indeed. Make no mistake #TheRoadWarriors Hawk and Animal will be forever known as the greatest tag team of all time.

Tribute: Wrestlers Ric Flair and Tommy Dreamer were among those who paid tribute to Animal

Reaction: Several of Animal’s fans took to social media to send their condolences to his family and friends in the wake of the tragic news 

‘#JosephLaurinaitis was loved by millions of wrestling fans all over the planet Rest In Power WHAT A RUSH!’

Another said: ‘I had the good fortune to have several conversations with Joe at our local gym. He couldn’t have been more inviting and kind to talk with. What a good man and I wish the best for his family and friends. RIP Joe.’

Another fan wrote: ‘Condolences to the family. Such sad news to start off today with. He made a huge impact on my childhood and I’ll always be a lifelong fan of LOD. Thank you Animal and Hawk. May you both RIP’.  

Legend: Animal, along with Hawk, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 by fellow wrestler Dusty Rhodes (pictured in 2011) 

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