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September 23, 2020

Philly native, WWE legend Joe Laurinaitis dies at 60

Road Warrior Animal formed one half of vaunted Legion of Doom tag team

Obituaries WWE
Joe Laurinaitis WWE Source/WWE

Joe Laurinaitis, pictured above as pro wrestler Road Warrior Animal, died at the age of 60, his family said. The Philly native and WWE Hall of Famer was remembered on Wednesday by figures across the wrestling world.

Wrestling legend and Philadelphia native Joe Laurinatis, better known as Road Warrior Animal from the Legion of Doom tag team, has died at 60 years old, his family and WWE said Wednesday morning.

Laurinaitis' wresting career spanned decades, but he was best known for his work alongside partner Mike "Road Warrior Hawk" Hegstrand, who died at the age of 46 in 2003.

The tag-team duo had stints in both WWE and WCW, and during their heydey in the 1990s, won titles in 1991 and 1997. They embraced a raw, physical style of style wrestling and stood out for their face paint and shoulder spikes. Animal captured a third tag team title in 2006 when he partnered with Heidenreich.

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Laurinaitis, Hegstrand and their manager, Paul Ellering, were all inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

Wrestling legends shared their condolences and remembered Laurinaitis on Wednesday.

Laurinaitis' brothers, John and Marcus, were also pro wrestlers and later served the WWE in various roles. His son, James Laurinatis, was a standout college football player at Ohio State University who went on to play eight seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2017.