Chyna’s brain to be examined by ‘Concussion’ doctor after accidental overdose, manager says
Chyna’s manager said he knows how the wrestling star died last week.
Chyna, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, died of a combination of the sleeping pill Ambien and a form of the tranquilizer Valium, her manager, Anthony Anzaldo, said Wednesday.
Chyna had been taking the legally prescribed pills over the course of three weeks, but wasn’t using them properly, he said. Her death was the result of an accidental overdose, Anzaldo insisted, not suicide.
“You are not going to find 60 pills in her stomach,” said Anzaldo, who found the wrestler’s body last Wednesday.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has deferred a ruling in the cause of death of the World Wrestling Entertainment star, saying it could take months before toxicology test results can determine whether she died of an overdose.
Redondo Beach police had initially reported Chyna’s death as a possible overdose or natural death.
Meanwhile, Chyna’s brain will be examined by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist and expert on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, Anzaldo said.
Actor Will Smith recently portrayed Omalu in the film “Concussion,” which details the doctor’s extensive research on sports athletes whose heads were repeatedly exposed to blunt force trauma and who then developed the degenerative brain disease.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Omalu said he had examined professional wrestler Chris Benoit’s brain after he committed suicide in 2007. He found the disease existed in wrestlers. Before that, he discovered CTE in football stars and boxers.
Anzaldo doesn’t think Chyna’s health condition and struggles with alcohol and substance abuse were the result of CTE.
Still, he said the doctor’s findings could help provide some insight. The examination should be completed in a couple of weeks, and would be publicly available, Anzaldo said.
“Everything with Chyna is public,” he said.
Chyna had been approached to join a concussion lawsuit filed last year by former WWE stars, alleging the organization failed to protect them from repeated brain injury, her manager said.
But Chyna decided to opt out of the lawsuit because she believed plenty of wrestlers had already come forward for the lawsuit and she didn’t want deal with paperwork, he said.
“We are done battling. We are done fighting. We are done engaging,” Anzaldo said.
Anzaldo found the 46-year-old lying in bed on April 20 in her Redondo Beach home, he said. He hadn’t heard from her since April 17.
Chyna hadn’t texted or tweeted, so Anzaldo, who lived a couple of doors away from the star, went to her home to check on her and found her “very perfectly still,” he said.
Anzaldo said there was no alcohol in her residence, nor were there pills strewn about.
Anzaldo believes Chyna died sometime April 17 or early April 18.
“She probably lied in bed. She closed her eyes and took her last breath,” he said.
Days before her body was found, Chyna had posted a rambling and sometimes incoherent video on YouTube.
Coroner’s officials have not determined a time and date of Chyna’s death, but officials said the last time anybody had contact with her was April 17.
Chyna posted a smiling selfie April 17 on her Instagram account that appeared to be in her bedroom.
“Happy Sunday my lovelies I hope you all enjoy your day with your family,” she wrote. “Be Happy, Love each other, and Live in Peace!”
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