LOS ANGELES, April 21 (UPI) -- Former WWE Superstar, reality TV star and actress Chyna was found dead Wednesday in her Redondo Beach, Calif., home, her manager said. She was 46.
Redondo Beach police responded to a call from Chyna's manager and the manager of the apartment building she lived in, Lt. Todd Heywood said. Officers found her dead on her bed. There were no signs of foul play, Heywood said.
The cause of death is being investigated.
In a statement, police said a "friend told Redondo Beach Police that the female had not answered her phone in a few days, and went to the location to check on her welfare."
Born Joan Marie Laurer, Chyna was a body builder in her teens in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y., and could reportedly bench press 325 pounds. After graduating from the University of Tampa in Florida, she joined World Wrestling Entertainment in the late 1990s and was once the women's champion.
Dubbed "The Ninth Wonder of the World," Chyna was a physically imposing figure who made her debut in the company in 1997 as the bodyguard of current WWE COO Triple H, a groundbreaking pairing at the time, as women were not seen portraying such roles in professional wrestling.
Chyna stayed by Triple H's side throughout the late '90s and together the duo helped form one of the most popular professional wrestling stables of all time, D-Generation X alongside WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels and Rick Rude and then later with Road Dogg, Billy Gun, and X-Pac.
Chyna broke new ground for female competitors, becoming the first woman to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament, the first woman to be a No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship, the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match and hold the distinction of being the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship.
WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon acknowledged Chyna's impact on the industry, tweeting Thursday, "I just heard the tragic news that @ChynaJoanLaurer has passed. She was truly a pioneer in our industry, and she will be missed. #RIPChyna."
Chyna posed for Playboy, went on to make mainstream and adult films and wrote a bestselling autobiography If They Only Knew, in 2001. She was featured in the reality TV shows The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Her manager said she had been prescribed medication for severe anxiety and sleep deprivation, but said he didn't know if it was a factor in her death.
She's the latest of several pro wrestlers to die young, including Rick Rude, Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, the Ultimate Warrior, Balls Mahoney and Owen Hart.