Joseph Laurinaitis, better known to wrestling fans as Road Warrior Animal, has passed away at the age of 60. He was a father of 3 children, including former NFL player James Laurinaitis.
News of Animal’s passing was confirmed on his official social media channels. A cause of death is not currently available. A formal statement is expected later today.
SEScoops sends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Joseph “Road Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis. RIP
The Road Warriors
The Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal, are widely regarded as one of the greatest tag teams in pro wrestling history. The childhood friends from Chicago, Illinois became household names during the 1980’s. They were known for their smash mouth physical in-ring style.
They steamrolled opponents in virtually every major promotion worldwide and won tag team gold wherever they went. Fans will forever remember their jacked-up physiques, iconic war paint, spiked shoulder pads and war paint. The Road Warriors epitomized the notion of two guys you wouldn’t not want to encounter in a dark alley.
The team are 4x PWI Tag Team of the Year award winners. They were voted #1 on the 100 Best Tag Teams of the “PWI Years” in 2003. They were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Animal is a 3x tag-team champion in the promotion. He twice won the belts with his longtime partner, Hawk, and once with Heidenreich. Hawk passed away in October 2013 at age 46.
Animal was inducted into the NWA Hall of Fame in 2012 and the NWA Legends Hall of Heroes in 2016. He also received the Frank Gotch Award in 2012 from the George Tragos/Lou These Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Earlier this year, he was presented with the Tag Team Award by the Cauliflower Alley Club. Animal is also in the Minnesota Wreslting Hall of Fame.
Reactions to Animal’s Passing
Animal and the Road Warriors were beloved figures in the wrestling industry. The following are some reactions to the news of his passing: