Wrestling icon Road Warrior Animal has died, and the world of sports entertainment is in mourning. Animal, whose real name is Joseph Laurinaitis, died on Tuesday at Tan-Tar-A Resort, which is located in Osage Beach, Missouri. An exact cause of death has not been released, but authorities told TMZ that it was from natural causes. He was 60.
Along with Road Warrior Hawk (real name Michael Hegstrand), Animal was one half of the legendary tag team the Road Warriors, known in WWE as the Legion of Doom (LOD). The duo was a dominant force in the wrestling world, winning titles in WWE, WCW, NWA, AWA, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling, among others. Additionally, Animal held the WWE Tag Team Championship another time. In 2005, Animal and Heidenreich won the belts in 2005 when the legend formed a revamped version of LOD after Hawk's 2003 death. This dominant reign in a wide-spanning range of promotions in a variety of eras led Animal to be loved by tons of his peers. After his passing made headlines on Wednesday, admirers and friends soon flooded Twitter with tributes, as shown below.
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
Jerry "The King" Lawler
Terrible news to wake up to this morning. Praying for Joe's wife and family. https://t.co/8dxBpEmQqL— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) September 23, 2020
I just learned of the passing of Joe Laurinaitis. Such a huge loss for wrestling - but even bigger for the family he adored.September 23, 2020
Shocked to hear of the passing of @RWAnimal.
An iconic figure in our business who I was looking forward to seeing this Saturday night in Jackson, Tennessee at the @JerryLawler celebration.
Condolences to Joe’s family and friends. 🙏🤠— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) September 23, 2020
The Iron Sheik
MY ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL BROTHER. YOU WERE MOST OVER TAG TEAM EVER. WE HAVE THE BEST TIME IN THE MINNESOTA FOREVER I LOVE YOU. RIP BUBBA pic.twitter.com/dLzAy2uRaa— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) September 23, 2020
I’m totally shocked to hear my friend and brother in Christ, Road Warrior Animal, has passed away. My thoughts and prayers as well as my heart, go out to the family. RIP my friend. 🙏— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) 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
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.September 23, 2020