Joseph Michael Laurinaitis, a.k.a. Road Warrior Animal, has reportedly passed away at the age of 60.
Hulk Hogan first tweeted about Laurinaitis’ passing earlier this morning.
Laurinaitis’ family is planning to release a statement later today. No other details are known.
Animal and Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) started teaming together as The Road Warriors in 1983. They are widely regarded as the greatest tag team of all time. They won many titles throughout their career, including the WWE/F Tag Team Championship, the NWA World Tag Team Championship and the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
Their last match as a team was defeating The Shane Twins in Japan in July of 2003, months before Hawk passed away on October 19, 2003. The team was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011 with Laurinaitis and Paul Ellering accepting the induction.
Laurinaitis continued to wrestle following Hegstrand’s passing. His last match was for WWE on July 17, 2012, where he defeated Heath Slater on SmackDown. He appeared on the 1,000th episode of RAW days later to join other WWE legends in beating down Slater.
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
So sad today to hear of the passing of @RWAnimal. He was a wonderful person & a fantastic performer. He set the standards for tag team wrestling that may never be met. I am glad that I had a opportunity to work with him. I will miss him but will never forget him. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/pfaJ7pGnvu
— Charles Robinson (@WWERobinson) September 23, 2020
RIP Animal pic.twitter.com/MYuC6qearS
— Jonny Fairplay (@JonnyFairplay) September 23, 2020
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
Today we lost the engine of the train
LOD. Animal was a partner, warrior, and friend. He will be welcomed home by a waiting Hawk. pic.twitter.com/pJ3BSYRSnQ
— Paul Ellering (@PaulElleringWWE) September 23, 2020
Very sad to learn of the death of Road Warrior Animal. He and Hawk were friends of mine and so cool to me when I started doing wrestling on TBS.
— Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24) September 23, 2020
Great memories traveling the roads with my brother in paint. Joe “Animal” Laurinitus will be missed. pic.twitter.com/WGWSRTSJb0
— Sting (@Sting) September 23, 2020