R.I.P. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper (1954 – 2015)

The wrestling legend and cult star of 'They Live' passes away at 61.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Reports have emerged that wrestling icon “Rowdy” Roddy Piper passed away from a heart attack yesterday at his home in Hollywood, CA. He was 61 years old.

Roderick George Toombs was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1954. When he was a teenager, Piper took up boxing and judo. But he made his debut as a wrestler at 15 years old, and he became an icon in that industry over the next few decades.

Under the ring name of Roddy Piper, Toombs joined the AWA and NWA wrestling federations. However, Piper found his greatest fame in the World Wrestling Federation in 1984 as a villainess manager, wrestler, and host of the infamous Piper’s Pit interview segment on WWF programing. Piper feuded with Hulk Hogan and headlined the very first Wrestlemania in a match that featured Piper and Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

Piper “retired” from the WWF following a victory at Wrestlemania III in 1986. He starred in several B-movies and guest-starred on various TV series, but his most memorable role in Hollywood came as the lead character in John Carpenter’s They Live (pictured above).

Concurrent with his Hollywood career, Piper made numerous comebacks to the WWF, WCW, TNA, and the re-named WWE. Although Piper was never a World Champion, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest villains in wrestling history.

In 2006, Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and he credited the wrestling fans for his successful treatment. According to Piper, if he had not been voted into a match by the online wrestling fans, the lymphoma would not have been caught in time.

Piper is survived by his wife, Kitty and their four children.

CraveOnline extends its condolences to Piper’s family, friends, and fans all over the world.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Carolco Pictures