Former WWE star and ex-Survivor contestant Ashley Massaro has sadly passed away in Long Island, New York at the age of just 39.
TMZ Sports reports that Massaro was transported to hospital from her home in Suffolk County, but died a short time later due to what officials have declared “non-criminal” circumstances.
Massaro rose to fame with the WWE in 2005 during a contentious period for female performers in the company. She won the WWE’s second Diva Search competition; an in-program reality-style competition aimed at uncovering new female talent for the company. Massaro competed in WWE between 2005 and 2008, which included a high-profile Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 23.
Massaro also featured as a contestant on Survivor: China while working for WWE. The fifteenth season of the show placed Massaro among the other castaways as the highest-profile cast member. She was voted out second on day six of the competition.
Massaro’s career in WWE is far more notable for revelations that emerged after she parted ways with the company, including allegations that she was sexually assaulted during a company trip to a US military base in Kuwait. She alleged that she reported the incident to company officials, who issued an apology to her on behalf of the company, but persuaded her to not report the incident to law enforcement authorities or military officials.
That incident formed the basis of a lawsuit filed against the WWE in 2016, which also included accusations that the WWE concealed the dangers of repeated concussions and head injuries to its performers; injuries that Massaro later connected to bouts of depression, anxiety, and unspecified addiction after her career ended.
The WWE issued a short statement confirming Massaro’s passing earlier today.
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.
No official cause of death has been determined at this time.