‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Wrestling Legend, Dead at 61

WWE pro died of cardiac arrest, according to media account

Last Updated: July 31, 2015 @ 4:31 PM

Wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper died Friday, the WWE said. He was 61.

Piper died of cardiac arrest in his Hollywood home, according to TMZ.

Piper (real name: Roderick George Toombs) rose to wrestling fame in the 1980s, and was admitted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

Piper was one of the wrestling league’s most popular villains, which played up Toombs’ Scottish heritage — he was actually born in Canada, though his character was billed as from Glasgow — with his signature kilt and the bagpipe music that would accompany him into the ring.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Toombs made his pro wrestling debut in Winnipeg at age 15, eventually making his way to America, where  he landed a gig with the American Wrestling Association, which ran from 1973 to 1975.

He later moved on to the National Wrestling Alliance before signing on with the WWE — at the time, the WWF — rising to iconic status. In addition to his ring time, Piper hosted the talk show “Piper’s Pit,” which was later refashioned as a podcast.

Fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan told TMZ that Piper was his “best friend,” noting, “I will forever miss him.”

“He was my best friend. He is a legend,” Hogan said.

The WWE said it was “deeply saddened” by Piper’s death.

“WWE is deeply saddened that Roderick Toombs, aka ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper – WWE Hall of Famer and Intercontinental Champion – passed away today at the age of 61,” the WWE said.

Added WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, “Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”
Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006, but said last year that he was free of the disease.

He is survived by his wife Kitty, four children and a grandchild.