Rowdy Roddy Piper — legendary WWE Hall of Fame wrestler, actor and pop-culture icon — passed away on Friday at age 61.
According to multiple sources including TMZ, Piper (born Roderick George Toombs) passed away in his Hollywood home around noon on Friday due to a cardiac arrest in his sleep.
Piper is indisputably one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling history, playing the villain to Hulk Hogan’s hero during the Rock n’ Wrestling popularity boom of the mid-1980s. His feud with A-Team star Mr. T made him a household name. He’s a former WWE Intercontinental Champion, a former World Tag Team Champion and a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word. He’s also popularly known for his film and television work, most famously as the lead in John Carpenter’s 1988 cult class They Live.
Piper’s representative said the following, speaking to TMZ:
“I am devastated at this news … 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.”
Much like the passing of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes in June, the loss of Rowdy Roddy will be felt throughout the wrestling community for a long time to come. Few men personified “legend” like the Rowdy one, in and out of the ring. He will be missed more than words can say. Our condolences go out to Piper’s family and loved ones, which I think includes everybody.
WWE released the following statement on Piper’s passing.
“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.
WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Toombs’ family, friends and fans.”
WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon also commented, saying: “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.”