Wrestling legend and Philadelphia native Joe Laurinatis, better known as Road Warrior Animal from the Legion of Doom tag team, has died at 60 years old, his family and WWE said Wednesday morning.
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. https://t.co/hurorEDVff
— WWE (@WWE) September 23, 2020
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
Laurinaitis’ wresting career spanned decades, but he was best known for his work alongside partner Mike “Road Warrior Hawk” Hegstrand, who died at the age of 46 in 2003.
The tag-team duo had stints in both WWE and WCW, and during their heydey in the 1990s, won titles in 1991 and 1997. They embraced a raw, physical style of style wrestling and stood out for their face paint and shoulder spikes. Animal captured a third tag team title in 2006 when he partnered with Heidenreich.
Laurinaitis, Hegstrand and their manager, Paul Ellering, were all inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Wrestling legends shared their condolences and remembered Laurinaitis on Wednesday.
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
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
Just found out that Road Warrior Animal has left us. Very sad to hear this, always such a nice guy whenever I would see him. So, I have a Tasmanian Devil tattoo on my right arm, he was my inspiration to get that before I started wrestling training. #RIP pic.twitter.com/iynxmE8pkb
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) September 23, 2020
Laurinaitis’ brothers, John and Marcus, were also pro wrestlers and later served the WWE in various roles. His son, James Laurinatis, was a standout college football player at Ohio State University who went on to play eight seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2017.