COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Joe Laurinaitis, WWE superstar the “Road Warrior Animal” and father of former linebacker with the Ohio State Buckeyes James Laurinaitis, has died at the age of 60.
The WWE announced his death on its website, Wednesday.
Laurinaitis was one half of the hall of fame duo known as “The Road Warriors.” Along with tag team partner “Hawk,” the pair took the wrestling world by storm in the 80s and 90s selling out arenas across the country. The popular team was also one of wrestling’s most imposing duos – enhancing their muscular figures with face paint and spiked shoulder pads.
“One of the most intense Superstars to ever step into the squared circle, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Animal spent the majority of his career alongside his tag team partner, Hawk. Together, they formed what was arguably the most successful, popular and feared tandem of all time — The Road Warriors,” the WWE released in a statement.
According to the WWE, the Road Warriors won the tag team title on two occasions were eventually enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Laurinaitis’ long-time partner “Hawk,” real name Michael Hegstrand, died in 2013.
“RIP Animal, love you my brother. I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of! God speed and blessings to your beautiful family,” tweeted Hulk Hogan.
James Laurinaitis was a linebacker with the Buckeyes from 2005-08 and won both the Bronko Nagurski Award for nation’s top defensive player and the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker during his career. He totaled 375 tackles in his career. He is currently a talk show host on 97.1 the Fan here in Columbus.