WWE legend Road Warrior Animal, whose real name is Joe Laurinaitis, died at the age of 60, WWE announced on Wednesday morning. The cause of death was not revealed. Laurinaitis made one half of the tag team — The Road Warriors (also known as Legion of Doom in WWE) — with Road Warrior Hawk (real name was Michael Hegstrand), who died in 2003.
"With their intimidating face paint, outfits covered in metal spikes and an impressive array of power moves, the duo captured titles and destroyed opponents wherever they roamed," WWE said in a statement when talking about the Hall of Fame tag team. "Their dominance made them so popular that the phrase 'Road Warrior pop' has been used in locker rooms to describe particularly deafening reactions from the crowd ever since."
At this time, we would like to confirm the passing of Joseph Laurinaitis aka Road Warrior Animal at the age of 60. 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. #OhWhatARush— RoadWarriorAnimal (@RWAnimal) September 23, 2020
Laurinaitis was born in Philadelphia and made his pro wrestling debut in 1982 as The Road Warrior. He quickly began working with Hegstrand, and they became the Legion of Doom. With the face paint and shoulder pads they would wear to the ring, The Legion of Doom became one of the most popular tag teams in the 1980s and 1990s. Pro Wrestling Illustrated named them Tag Team of the Year in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1988. They won various championships from different wrestling promotions, including WWE where they were the WWF Tag Team Champions twice.
"The Road Warriors thrived in multiple stints with WWE, where they were known as The Legion of Doom," WWE's statement read. "The team won the World Tag Team Titles on two occasions and were eventually enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame. WWE extends its condolences to Laurinaitis's family, friends and fans."
Laurinaitis was the father of former NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis who played for the St. Loius (now Los Angeles) Rams and New Orleans Saints. He played college football at Ohio State where he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Twice. Joe Laurinaitis was also the brother of John Laurinaitis, who currently works from WWE as a senior producer.