Authorities in New York say ex-pro wrestler Ashley Massaro was found unresponsive in her residence on Thursday.
The 39-year-old, who had been a Playboy cover girl in addition to making it big as part of the WWE wrestling lineup, is believed to have died as a result of suicide, according to reports cited by the New York Post.
Those who knew Massaro reportedly became concerned when she did not arrive at a position she had at a radio station.
Upon responding to her home in Smithtown on Thursday morning, officials found her inside. Emergency personnel attempted to revive her as she was rushed to an area hospital, but she was pronounced dead.
A friend told The Blast that Massaro had long struggled with her mental health..
She “died from suicide” just days after replying to hundreds of letters from her fans, Shelly Martinez said.
Though her friend said she had been the happiest she had seen her “in years” and was thankful for those who “still cared about her 11 years after her career was over,” Martinez suggested Massaro was nevertheless in the grips of deep depression.
“There are no signs,” Martinez said. “It comes without warning.”
Massaro has also claimed that head trauma she sustained while wrestling were due to inadequate protections put in place by the WWE and added her name to a lawsuit against the organization about two years ago.
In October, however, a WWE spokesperson said she had subsequently contacted the organization to express regret for taking part in the suit.
“I accept my part of the responsibility and just want to formally apologize and express my regret,” she reportedly stated at the time. “You all changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
The WWE released a statement in the wake of news about her death:
We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro. 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.
[Featured image: Globe Photos/MediaPunch /IPX]