Brain of deceased WWE wrestler Chyna donated for CTE research

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The brain of former WWE star Chyna has been donated to CTE research following the wrestler's death last week, her manager said Tuesday.

Chyna, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, was found dead at the age of 46 in her Redondo Beach, California, apartment Wednesday. While there was no indication of foul play, police have yet to determine cause of death, the Los Angeles Times reported, after the Los Angeles County Coronor's office deferred its ruling pending additional investigation.

It could be weeks before the results of toxicology tests are known.

Her manager, Anthony Anzaldo, told NBC4 in Los Angeles that her brain has been given to researcher Dr. Bennet Omalu to see whether there were any effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

"We want to donate her brain," Anzaldo told The New York Daily News. "We want to know what made Chyna tick."

CTE, which is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, can be diagnosed only after death via an examination of brain tissue.

Dozens of football players who died have been diagnosed with CTE -- including Ken Stabler, Frank Gifford and Junior Seau.

The tall, muscle-bound, raven-haired Laurer billed herself as the "9th Wonder of the World" because her wrestling predecessor Andre the Giant had already called himself the eighth. She was a member of the wrestling squad D-Generation X, often wrestled against men and at one point was the WWE women's champion.

After leaving WWE in 2001, Laurer was determined to stay active in the entertainment industry. She wrote an autobiography, became a semi-regular on Howard Stern's radio show and appeared in TV sitcoms like "3rd Rock From the Sun" and reality shows including "The Surreal Life." She posed for Playboy and appeared in adult films.

Laurer later came clean about her struggles with drugs on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew."