Former WWE Star and Survivor: China Contestant Ashley Massaro Dies at 39
The reality star died of undisclosed causes at a hospital in New York
Ashley Massaro, a former WWE wrestler and contestant on Survivor: China, died on Thursday morning, PEOPLE confirms. She was 39.
While authorities would not disclose the details of her death, it is not being classified as a criminal case, a Suffolk County Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
Authorities were called to the wrestler’s Suffolk County, New York, home and she was transported to a nearby hospital where she died on Thursday morning. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death, the spokesman said.
Massaro was in her early 20s when she first stepped into the public eye. She won the WWE’s Diva Search in 2005, which resulted in a one-year, $250,000 contract. She continued with the WWE for 3 years, cutting ties in 2008.
“We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro,” the WWE said in a statement. “She performed in WWE from 2005-2008 and was beloved by her fellow Superstars and fans around the world. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends.”
In 2007, Massaro appeared on Survivor: China, the 15th season of the long-running show. Despite her considerable physical strength, she got sick in the first few days. She was the second contestant voted out of the game, lasting only six days.
News of her death has sent shock waves through the Survivor community.
“I’m so sad to hear the news about Ashley’s passing,” fellow contestant Peih Gee Law tells PEOPLE. “She was such a fighter on Survivor: China. Even though she got sick early on in the game, she still competed with all her heart in the challenges. She brought a really fun energy to camp life. I’m so sorry for this loss to both the Survivor and WWE community.”
Contestant Leslie Nease was voted out of Survivor after Massaro, and spent the next month traveling with her. “She is so much more than her image,” she tells PEOPLE. “After we were both voted off we spent hours in deep conversation for several days. She had a very soft and kind side. I am so thankful I was able to see that and know her that way. I am so devastated!”
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Massaro’s death comes just two months after she announced that she would return to wrestling.
“Gonna be bumping around the ring starting next week at @NYWCWRESTLING super pumped n ready to see what I got left in these ole boots of mine! Those guy are the best super safe and make me feel so comfortable-if u live in tri state area n want to train-THIS IS WHERE ITS AT!” she wrote on Twitter.
In 2017, Massaro told PEOPLE that she had always been an adventure seeker — and that there was more to her life than wrestling and Survivor.
“I’ve been really fortunate to do a lot of different things,” she told PEOPLE at the time. “I’ve had a lot of adventures that most people don’t get an opportunity to do, and I’m really thankful for that. I’m always looking for the next cool experiences, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next, but I promise you this: It’ll be awesome.”
No funeral or memorial arrangements have been announced.