WWE pro died of cardiac arrest, according to media account
Wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper died Friday, the WWE said. He was 61.
Piper died of cardiac arrest in his Hollywood home, according to TMZ.
Piper (real name: Roderick George Toombs) rose to wrestling fame in the 1980s, and was admitted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
Piper was one of the wrestling league’s most popular villains, which played up Toombs’ Scottish heritage — he was actually born in Canada, though his character was billed as from Glasgow — with his signature kilt and the bagpipe music that would accompany him into the ring.
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Toombs made his pro wrestling debut in Winnipeg at age 15, eventually making his way to America, where he landed a gig with the American Wrestling Association, which ran from 1973 to 1975.
He later moved on to the National Wrestling Alliance before signing on with the WWE — at the time, the WWF — rising to iconic status. In addition to his ring time, Piper hosted the talk show “Piper’s Pit,” which was later refashioned as a podcast.
Fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan told TMZ that Piper was his “best friend,” noting, “I will forever miss him.”
“He was my best friend. He is a legend,” Hogan said.
The WWE said it was “deeply saddened” by Piper’s death.
Ever notice how many famous/creative people come from Saskatchewan? It’s always the brunt of jokes by Ontario and B.C. but for such a small population and only a few relatively small cities, per capita it’s numbers beat them both, as well as many parts of the world that like to think of themselves as artsy and sophisicated!
I am from Saskatoon, so I guess that’s true!
Not everyone may know this, but “Hot Rod” was also a fixture up in the Vancouver area when he appeared as a regular on All-Star Wrestling on BCTV in 1979 and 1980. One of his more well-known moments on All-Star came when he smashed a beer bottle into his own forehead as he and Rick Martel were being interviewed by then-host Ron Morrier.
And his famous cult movie “They Live” still lives on.
One of the most charismatic characters I have ever seen in wrestling.