WWE Legend ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper Dead at 61
Okay, this one hurts. A lot.
WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper — born Roderick George Toombs — has died at age 61. He passed away in his sleep from cardiac arrest at his home in Hollywood on Thursday night.
Generally regarded as one of the greatest wrestling superstars to never hold the world title, Piper was one of the biggest icons in all of professional wrestling, headlining the very first Wrestlemania card in 1985 in a tag team match against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.
“I am devastated at this news,” said Piper’s publicist. “Rod was a good friend as well as a client and one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all.”
His family added, in a separate statement, “Our family is saddened by the sudden passing of our father and beloved husband, Roderick Toombs aka Rowdy Roddy Piper.”
Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. A year later, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006. However, Piper announced in November 2014 that he was cancer free. His family later confirmed that Piper was still cancer free at the time of his death. had been cancer free since last November.
Piper was also a noted screen star, famously appearing in the classic action film They Live, and also making occasional appearances on TV in such shows as It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Roddy Piper is survived by his wife, Kitty, and their 4 kids — including 3 daughters and son Colton, who appeared in the ring with him at Wrestlemania 12 in 1996. Colton is following in his father’s footsteps now, pursuing a career in the professional wrestling business.
This death is a shocker, not only because he was only 61, but because he was only just in the news a few days ago, offering his opinions on the Hulk Hogan racist comment scandal that’s made headlines this month. This is just terrible news, any way you cut it. I grew up watching Piper, and he was long one of my favorite performers in all of professional wrestling. That man could cut a promo like few in the business before or since. I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone like him ever again in the wrestling industry.
You’ll be missed, Hot Rod. I can’t even say how much. Rest In Peace.