TMZ is reporting that Ashley Massaro was found in her home in Suffolk County, NY, and transported to a hospital, where she was declared dead this morning. She was two weeks shy of her 40th birthday.
Massaro entered the WWE through the somewhat-popular Diva Search competition, winning its second edition in 2005. Her first real experience was a women’s battle royal on Raw; unfortunately, her lack of training meant her bump to the floor went wrong and she broke her leg. However, she remained on-screen for a few extra weeks while healing, most notably as a kidnapping victim of Mickie James in an attempt to get in Trish Stratus’ head.
After some rudimentary training, she was placed in an on-screen role, primarily as a valet for the wildly popular tag team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick. It was while in this role that she was selected for the April 2007 cover of Playboy magazine.
Following on from the success of that cover and her Diva Search popularity, Massaro received a WrestleMania 23 match against Melina for the WWE Women’s Championship, which she lost. The next year, Ashley filled in for an injured Candice Michelle to team with Maria Kanellis against Beth Phoenix and Melina. Again she lost the match, though this one is more notable for the smoke and mirrors surrounding it — antics involving Snoop Dogg, Jerry Lawler, and Santino Marella overshadowed the match, as did a blown fuse that took out main lighting over the ring.
Massaro also had a cup of coffee in mainstream television, being chosen to take part in the Survivor game during its season in China. Unfortunately for her, she was an early casualty of the format.
She left WWE in July 2008 to take care of her family.
The thoughts and prayers of all of us at Blog of Doom are with Massaro’s family, especially her daughter, at this difficult time.