LOS ANGELES - The loud mouthed, kilt-wearing WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper died today from an apparent heart attack at his home in Hollywood. He was 61.
Born Roderick Toombs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Piper is the second WWE Hall of Famer to die this summer. In June "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes also passed away. Piper's death also comes days after Hulk Hogan, one of his biggest rivals, was fired by the WWE after it was revealed he had used racial slurs in a conversation recorded on a sex tape.
Piper and Hogan had headlined some of the biggest WWE matches during the 1980s. Hogan and Mr. T beat Piper and Paul Orndorff on March 31, 1985, at the WrestleMania I at Madison Square Garden in a match that saw Muhammad Ali as the guest referee.
A feud between Piper and Hogan led to an MTV special "The War to Settle the Score" in 1985. Piper was cast as the villain, and when he was disqualified in the match, it allowed Hogan to keep the WWF championship. The brawl after the match led to the first WrestleMania.
Recognized for his wisecracking, trash-talking, Piper was a villain in the early part of his career - going so far as to attack Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka by cracking a coconut on his head on his popular WWF talk show "Piper's Pit." He went on to star in the movie "They Live" and a number of other action movies.
"[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 Vince McMahon in a statement. But perhaps most poignant was a tweet posted by the late wrestler's son Colt Toombs, who said "My father @R—Roddy—Piper was a great man and my best friend I will miss him forever and will always try to be the man he raised me to be."