Chyna WWE WWF Wrestler
Chyna during her WWF heyday.World Wrestling Entertainment

Former WWE wrestler Chyna – real name Joanie Laurer – has died at the age of 45. News of her death was announced in a statement made through her official Twitter account amid reports that she died of a suspected drug overdose.

"It is with great sadness to inform you today that we have lost a true icon, a real life superhero," read the statement. "Joanie Laurer aka Chyna, the 9th wonder of the world has passed away. She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her."

TMZ reports that she was found at her Californian home at 7:30pm local time (3:30am BST) and that police officers on the scene are "investigating a possible overdose... due mainly to her history with drugs".

Chyna was a big star in World Wrestling Entertainment (then WWF) during the late 90s boom period known as the Attitude Era. Billed as the Ninth Wonder of the World (because Andre the Giant had been billed as the eighth), Chyna is best remembered as an integral member of the D-Generation X stable alongside Shawn Michaels and Triple H, whom she dated between 1996 and 2000.

She was the first female wrestler to hold the Intercontinental Championship (doing so twice), the first to participate in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring events and was also Women's Champion. In her career she competed against men as well as women, chalking up victories against the like of Triple H, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle.

She left the company in 2001, going on to appear in other promotions and a handful of reality series, including Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew, which concerned her well-publicised battles with drink and drug addiction.