WWE Star Ashley Massaro Dies At 39, Brain Donated To Study CTE
Former WWE star Ashley Massaro has died at the age of 39.
Massaro was transported from her home in Smithtown, Long Island, to a nearby hospital where she died early Thursday morning.
The wrestler and model died of “non-criminal causes,” Suffolk County Police say, but the cause of death has not yet been announced.
“We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro,” WWE said in a statement while offering its “condolences to Ashley’s family and friends.”
We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends. https://t.co/PqHSRbOGso
— WWE (@WWE) May 17, 2019
Massaro competed in WWE from 2005-2008 after famously winning the Raw Diva Search contest.
Two years later she went on to compete in the most high-profile match of her career against Melina Perez at Wrestlemania 23 for the WWE Women’s Championship.
The social media star received an outpouring of support after the news of her death was announced.
“I can’t even begin to explain how devastated I am to hear about @ashleymassaro11 – legit one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known,” WWE Hall of Famer Torrie Wilson tweeted. “When we fall into a dark place it can seem like it will never change but if you are there PLEASE keep hope & reach out for help.”
I can’t even begin to explain how devastated I am to hear about @ashleymassaro11 – legit one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. When we fall into a dark place it can seem like it will never change but if you are there PLEASE keep hope & reach out for help.
— Torrie Wilson (@Torrie11) May 17, 2019
Mick Foley, also a Hall of Famer, tweeted, “A beautiful light, gone way too young. I still can’t believe she’s gone. I love this photo – her smile, her warmth, her beauty. I miss you Ashley. #RIPAshleyMassaro”
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) May 18, 2019
“We are so saddened to hear the news of Ashley Massaro,” Nikki and Brie Bella wrote on their Twitter page. “She had such a tender heart and sweet soul. We will always remember her of that. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. RIP Ashley”
We are so saddened to hear the news of Ashley Massaro. She had such a tender heart and sweet soul. We will always remember her of that. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. RIP Ashley ❤️B&N https://t.co/rc7ShWJuNa
— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) May 17, 2019
Massaro, who has an 18-year-old daughter, also appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine during her career.
View this post on Instagram
Covers on covers on covers…little hint to what one of my next surprises will be 😳😜😊can't wait to show you!! #model #modellife #magazinecover #magazine #wwe #wwediva #flexmagazine #femmefatale #femmefatalemagazine #wwemagazine #playboy #playboybunny #playboycover #playboyplaymate #playboymagazine
The one-time Survivor contestant was among 60 former pro wrestlers who sued WWE in 2016, claiming the company was responsible for neurological injuries suffered in the ring.
The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in Connecticut in September and is pending appeal, according to her lawyer, Konstantine Kyros. The next court date is July 8.
“It was Ashley’s wishes to donate her brain,” Kryos said, adding that there’s a little time to make the decision.
Her brain may be donated to a prominent doctor who researches chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition associated with multiple head injuries.
Kyros said six other wrestlers he’s represented were diagnosed with CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death.
Funeral services will be taking place Sunday and Monday at Branch Funeral Home in Smithtown.