The world of professional wrestling has lost another legendary name with the passing of Joseph Laurinaitis, better known to millions of fans around the world for decades as Road Warrior Animal, at the age of 60. Laurinaitis' official Twitter account and brother Marcus' Facebook account confirmed the news Wednesday morning- with the family planning to release a full statement after on Wednesday. Animal and tag-team partner Hawk (Michael Hegstrand, who passed away in 2003) along with manager Paul Ellering made-up the dominating and influential tag-team the Road Warriors, considered by many the best and most dominating team pro wrestling history. Though remembered by many for their WWF/WWE runs, the Road Warriors would earn their reputation (and a ton of championship titles) wrestling overseas as well as in the NWA and AWA.
The WWE issued a statement shortly after news of Laurinaitis' passing was confirmed:
WWE is saddened to learn that Joe Laurinaitis, known to WWE fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away at the age of 60. One of the most intense Superstars to ever step into the squared circle, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Animal spent the majority of his career alongside his tag team partner, Hawk. Together, they formed what was arguably the most successful, popular and feared tandem of all time — The Road Warriors.
With their intimidating face paint, outfits covered in metal spikes and impressive array of power moves, the duo captured titles and destroyed opponents wherever they roamed. 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. The Road Warriors thrived in multiple stints with WWE, where they were known as The Legion of Doom. 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' family, friends and fans.