Wrestling legend Joseph Laurinaitis, aka Road Warrior Animal, dies at 60

He was half of the famous tag teams known as the Road Warriors and the Legion of Doom.
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Wrestling legend Joseph Laurinaitis, better known by his in-ring name "Animal," has died at the age 60.

"At this time, we would like to confirm the passing of Joseph Laurinaitis aka Road Warrior Animal at the age of 60," a statement on his Twitter page reads.

"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."

Laurinaitis, who was raised in Minnesota, was part of the famed tag teams the Road Warriors and the Legion of Doom along with St. Paul native Michael Hegstrand, who was better known as "Hawk" and who died in 2003 at the age of 46.

The pair enjoyed an illustrious career in the pro wrestling circuit, winning multiple tag team titles during their time at the WWE (then the WWF), AWA, WCW, and NWA, with the team inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

Their spiked ring attire, coupled with their distinctive "What a rush!" entrance music, made them firm crowd favorites throughout their time in wrestling.

Laurinaitis, who was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2019, attended Irondale High School in New Brighton.

Per his autobiography, The Road Warriors: Danger, Death and the Rush of Wrestling, Laurinaitis says he came to the attention of local wrestling trainer Eddie Sharkey while he worked as a bouncer at Gramma B's in the Twin Cities.

The Road Warriors gimmick he formed with Hegstrand was based off Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.

Laurinaitis was the father of Jessica Laurinaitis and James Laurinatis, the latter of whom was a linebacker for Ohio State and later the St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints.

His cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but he was advertising for personal appearances on his social media pages as recently as two weeks ago.

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