WWE legend Roddy Piper dies at 61
The “Piper’s Pit” has come to a close for good.
The wrestling community mourns the loss of another legend in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who died at the age of 61 due to cardiac arrest on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
Piper, whose real name is Roderick Toombs, is a Canadian wrestler who portrayed a Scottish villain and came to the ring wearing his signature kilt and played bagpipes.
WWE issued a statement on Piper’s passing, saying, “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.”
“Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world,” WWE chairman Vince McMahon said. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”
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Hulk Hogan, Piper’s fiercest rival in the 1980’s, spoke to TMZ.com and said, “I will forever miss him.”
“He was my best friend. He is a legend. God’s gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need find peace. Much love forever.”
A former boxer, “Hot Rod” found his way to the sports entertainment business and undoubtedly helped the rise of the sport in the 1980s with his feud with Hogan.
The two were part of the main event of the first WrestleMania in 1985, when Hogan teamed up with Mr. T to face Piper and Paul Orndorff in a tag team match, where fellow wrestling legend Pat Patterson and boxing champ Muhammad Ali both served as special guest referees.
Never to shy away from controversy, Piper also hosted the talk show “Piper’s Pit,” with its most iconic scene featuring the host smashing a coconut in “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka’s face.
In 2006, Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but eventually made his way back to WWE in 2008. He made sporadic appearances since and worked on independent wrestling circuits. IDL
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