Philly.com Staff Photographer
Wrestling legend Roderick Toombs, aka “Rowdy” Roddy Piper”, has died at the age of 61, WWE announced today, July 31st.
According to a variety of sources including, variety.com, Piper suffered a heart attack at his home located in Hollywood, California.
WWE commented on their website extending their sincerest condolences to friends, family, and fans. The site stated, “Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”
Roddy Piper’s career started differently than you may remember; although he enjoyed his favored status as a “WWE Hall of Famer”, Roddy Piper began his WWE career as one of the most-hated wrestlers ever to step into the ring. After making his mark in the NWA during the seventies, he started to make his true mark when he came to WWE in 1984, where he quickly rose to fame.
His battles with Hulk Hogan became historical moments to remember for WWE fans everywhere. He and the renown Hulk went back and forth in heated banter during interview segments that rank among the most-entertaining interview segments in the history. Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, the banter is very interesting. The two continued their battles for years. Following these events, some of Piper’s career highlights include: Intercontinental Champion, World Tag Team Champion, WCW U.S. Champion, and, in 2005, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
An interesting tid bit about Piper is his acting career. He famously starred in John Carpenter’s sci-fi movie “They Live.” But even the hot lights of Hollywood couldn’t keep “Hot Rod” away from the ring of WWE. He maintained quite a career and Piper was even interim President of WWE for a period of time during 1996. Piper has claimed he was “born to controversy”, and his wild, freewheeling life has proven that statement to be more than true.
He wrestled for five whole decades. Piper had an incredible and absolutely unforgettable career. He will be missed.