Wrestling icon “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who once cracked another wrestler’s head with a coconut, has died from cardiac arrest. He was 61.
According to his agent Jay Schachter, Piper died peacefully in his sleep at his Hollywood home on July 30; he was discovered the next morning.
Born Roderick George Toombs in Saskatoon, Canada, Piper was one of WWE’s biggest wrestling stars in the 1980s, headlining the first WrestleMania way back in 1985. At the time, he teamed up with Paul Orndoff and the duo fought with – and lost to – Mr T and Hulk Hogan.
Piper was famous for his raging insults as well as wearing a kilt and marching into the ring with bagpipe music in the background, a tribute to his Scottish heritage.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2005 and was known as one of the top “villains” in the wrestling world. In 2006, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) but announced last year in November that he was finally cancer free.
Reports have said that the wrestler was also free from cancer at the time of his death.
Piper last wrestled in 2008 but remained with WWE until 2014, appearing on numerous WWE shows. One of his biggest rivals was Hogan, who issued a touching statement earlier on Piper’s death, saying: “He was my best friend. He is a legend. God’s gain is our loss. May his family find peace in this time of need. My love forever — HH.”
Piper is survived by his wife Kitty (whom he married in 1982), their three daughters and son Colton, who is looking to follow in his late father’s steps in the world of wrestling.
My father @R_Roddy_Piper was a great man and my best friend I will miss him forever and will alway try to be the man he raised me to be
— Colt Toombs (@ColtToombs) July 31, 2015
— Falon Toombs (@FalonToombs) July 31, 2015
My dad @R_Roddy_Piper has passed away. I’ll always keep him close to my heart. There are no words for the depth of sadness and loss I feel
— Ariel Teal Toombs (@arielteal) July 31, 2015