UPDATE 7/31/2015 4:30 PM PT: WWE has confirmed “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s passing, and published a comment from WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.
Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.
Pro wrestling legend and actor “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has died at age 61, according to a report from TMZ. The Wrestling Observer has also reported the news, based on TMZ’s account. TMZ reports that he died of natural causes; the actor was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but had stated in November that he was cancer free.
Piper, real name Roderick George Toombs, was one of the most iconic pro wrestling stars of the WWF’s 1980s boom, as well as an actor best known for his starring role in John Carpenter’s 1988 film “They Live.” Carpenter has addressed Piper’s passing on Twitter:
I’m devastated by the passing of my friend Roddy Piper. Great wrestler, underrated actor, dear friend. Rest in peace, Rod.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) July 31, 2015
Piper enjoyed a 30-year pro wrestling career, famously known for his verbal skills and his run as a “heel” (villain) in the mid-1980s WWF. He teamed with Paul Orndorff against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of the first-ever WrestleMania in 1985, and faced Mr. T in a boxing match a year later at WrestleMania 2. He continued to perform into his 50s, including winning the WWE’s tag team championship with fellow veteran Ric Flair in 2006. In 2005, he was inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame.
Beyond “They Live,” Piper’s acting appearances also include the lead role in cult film “Hell Comes to Frogtown” and two appearances on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Piper is survived by his wife and four children.
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