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Road Warrior Animal passes away at 60 years old

Image: WWE

The family of Joe Laurinaitis tweeted Wednesday morning that the man known to millions as Road Warrior Animal has passed away at 60 years old.

One half of the legendary Road Warriors/Legion of Doom tag team, Laurinaitis leaves behind a wife, two sons, and a daughter. The family said they will release a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Laurinaitis was trained in Minnesota by Eddie Sharkey alongside future stars Mike Hegstrand (Hawk), Richard Rood (Rick Rude), and Barry Darsow (Demolition Smash). Soon after making his debut in 1982 as The Road Warrior, manager Paul Ellering put he and Hegstrand together and renamed them. After working out some early kinks with their look, the rest is history.

The two competed in every top promotion in the world, winning nearly every tag team championship imaginable. Hegstrand's well-documented issues with drugs and alcohol caused the two to drift apart personally and professionally before they reunited. Hegstrand died in October 2003 of a heart attack at just 46 years old.

Laurinaitis and Hegstrand were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. 

Through the latter years of his career and during his time away from Hegstrand, Laurinaitis was active as a singles wrestler with short runs in WWE, WCW, TNA, and the indies. He wrote a book in 2011 and launched the 'What A Rush' podcast in 2017.