"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Dead

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper Dead at 61

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who as a professional wrestler/esteemed alumnus appeared on myriad WWF and WWE TV programs over the decades, died Thursday from cardiac arrest, TMZ reports. He was 61.

“Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved my millions of fans around the world,” WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

Born Roderick George Toombs, the Saskatchewan native got his start as a professional grappler in the 1970s with the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance), before moving up to the WWF (World Wrestling Federation). There, and clad in a kilt, Piper enjoyed a storied career as one of the “bad boys” of wrestling — he hosted “Piper’s Pit” (a forum for other “villain” characters), and his feud with Hulk Hogan culminated in 1985’s seminal WrestleMania I (see highlights below) — before evolving into a fan favorite later that decade.

After largely retiring from wrestling in the ’90s, Piper provided color commentary for WWF TV and at one point served as the WWF’s interim president. In 2005, he was admitted to the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Hall of Fame.

Piper also guest-starred not as himself on the occasional TV series, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Breaking In, Cold Case and Walker, Texas Ranger.

Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006, but declared himself cancer-free in late 2014.

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  1. Mark D. Moss says:

    Any fan of SciFi schlock (can you say “Sharknado”?) owes it to themselves to check out Piper’s tour de force “They Live” .. a terrifically fun John Carpenter romp (and, I think, Piper’s film debut … at least as a lead). R.I.P., Roddy.

  2. Murica! says:

    Sad news. RIP, Roddy.

  3. wrstlgirl says:

    Oh no!!! Very sad.

  4. Melora says:

    Everybody needs to watch They Live. Its a fantastic science fiction flick that is 25 years old but highly prophetic for its time and how the world is now. Its also Piper’s best work!!

  5. :( Sad news. he was one of my favs. Gonna miss him

  6. Sheldon W. says:

    I have come here to chew bubblegum and mourn the passing of a genuinely original character and fellow Canadian. This Double Bubble’s for you, Roddy.

  7. A says:

    It is so sad that another part of childhood has died today he was so funny and awesome when he took on his foes on the show. Thanks for the memories Piper.

  8. Tanya Parrotta says:

    Rip rowdy Piper, I grew up watching you, you were my favorite wrestler.
    You will be missed.

  9. Phil says:

    My son watched Rowdy Roddy all the time. We named our cat Roddy. Great guy. Loved the kilt and the matches. We’ll miss you.

  10. Sherry Lee says:

    RIP Ronny Piper, you will be sadly missed. Thanks for the memories. Watched wresting and you will growing up in Indiana.

  11. spdavid says:

    The fight scene in They Live is the single greatest two person fight scene ever put on film.The movie is a classic with some great lines.

    I can see him now at the Pearly Gates: “I am here to chew bubble gum and kick ass and I am all out of bubble gum”

  12. Harvey says:

    Man! Loved him! Sad.

  13. fiberlicious says:

    Clue-by-four: EVERYBODY dies of cardiac arrest! Why not just say “we’re not going to tell you” and be honest about it?

  14. A Longtime Fan says:

    I live in Oregon and had a chance encounter with the Rowdy one. When he lived in Oregon, one night on his way home, he stopped at the convenience store where I was working to just buy gum (may have been bubble gum, but I don’t remember). It was past midnight and no one else was in the store. He never said a word and all I said was that he was my and my son’s favorite wrestler. He just smiled and left. I will always treasure that moment. RIP. Deepest condolences to his family.

  15. Mr. Tran K says:

    WWE lost yet another legendary wrestler this year. First Dusty Rhodes now Roddy Piper. RIP HOT ROD

  16. Bark Star says:

    Not mentioning “They Live” indeed borders on the criminally incompetent or ignorant.

    • Tom says:

      They never go into movie detail here. It’s a TV site. And they cited his TV work.

      Although I do agree, I have turned many people on to They Live over the years. A classic.

  17. Laurie Alberts says:

    I loved watching Rowdy Roddy Piper. He was one of my favorites. RIP Roddy. My prayers go out to his family !