Chyna's Former Manager Opens Up About Finding Her Dead at 45: WWE Star Was Taking Sleeping Pills and Anti-Anxiety Medication
"She was really confronting some demons," friend Anthony Anzaldo tells PEOPLE
WWE Legend Chyna was taking sleep medication and anti-anxiety pills at the time of her death at age 45 and had been “a little emotionally strained” as she confronted demons from her past for a new documentary, her former manager tells PEOPLE.
The body of the wrestling icon, whose real name was Joanie Marie Laurer, was discovered Redondo Beach, California apartment by her friend and manager Anthony Anzaldo on Wednesday.
“I went over there is because she was unresponsive for three days,” Anzaldo tells PEOPLE. “She wasn t responding to any calls or anything so the last communication was Sunday, they think she died on Monday I found her on Wednesday.”
Laurer was prescribed two medications for sleep and anxiety prior to her death, Anzaldo says. His friend’s reliance on the drugs became more apparent over the past few months as she struggled with emotional issues that came up from a documentary she was filming.
“She had been a little emotionally strained. She was really confronting some demons and she may have been taking a little bit more than normal,” he recalls. “Every couple of days she’d be a little bit off of her game, a little loopy, like maybe she had taken too much but she was still coherent.”
Anzaldo adds that he was “shocked” by the death he believes may have resulted from an accidental overdose. Authorities with the L.A. County coroner’s office told PEOPLE that investigators have come to a similar conclusion.
“It looked like she died peacefully in her sleep, there were no illegal drugs, no alcohol, it wasn’t like her home was a mess. At this time there’s no thought of it being an intentional thing,” Anzaldo says.
“I am very sad for Joanie and her loved ones, but I am also terribly angry because I suspect addiction may have taken another life,” he said.
Laurer’s death is not being investigated as a suicide, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner tells PEOPLE, adding that the list of medications present at the scene will not be released until an autopsy has been completed.
On Sunday, Laurer appeared optimistic in a YouTube video posted in the early morning hours.
Making a fruit smoothie, she asked, “How lucky am I?” after noting that she was “doing good.”
• With reporting by Jodi Guglielmi