“Rowdy” Rowdy Piper passes away

Aug 1, 2015 - by Colin Vassallo

TMZ.COM broke the story that WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has passed away at the age of 61. Piper died from cardiac arrest at a home in Hollywood around Noon earlier today. “Rod was a good friend as well as a client and one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all,” Piper’s rep told TMZ.COM, adding that he was devastated at the news. Piper, real name Roderick Toombs, is survived by his wife Kitty and his four children, daughters Anastacia Shea, Ariel Teal, and Falon Danika, and son Colton Baird.

The wrestling world was shocked with the death of Rowdy Roddy Piper today, who passed away from cardiac arrest at the age of 61. Piper made his wrestling debut in 1969 at the age of 15 and worked his way to the AWA in 1973. In 1975 he joined the NWA where he spent five years there before moving to Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic in 1980 for three years. In 1984 he joined the WWF full time and became one of the most hated heels in WWF history, first feuding with Jimmy Snuka and cracking the coconut on his head and then moving in a feud with Hulk Hogan, leading to the WrestleMania I main event between himself and Mr Wonderful vs Hogan and Mr T. Piper then turned face and wrestled Adrian Adonis at WrestleMania III which was billed as his retirement match. Hot Rod returned in 1989 at WrestleMania V and stayed there till 1992, feuding with Bad News Brown, the Million Dollar Man, The Mountie, Ric Flair, and Bret Hart. After a two year absence, he returned at WrestleMania X to referee the main event and after transitioning to commentary and a feud with Goldust, Piper left the WWF to move to WCW. A five year stint in WCW saw Piper resuming his Feud with Hogan, Ric Flair, the nWo, and others. Piper went back to WWE in 2003 but his stint didn’t last long and then returned in 2005 when he was announced as part of the Hall of Fame that year. Piper made several appearances for the company over a 10 year period, appearing at pay-per-views and televised events. He was also part of the Legends House reality show which aired on the WWE Network last year. In late 2006 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma but managed to beat cancer a few years later. Piper last appeared on WWE television at WrestleMania 31 during a backstage segment involving Daniel Bryan and other WWE Legends. During his time in WWE, Piper won the World Tag Team titles once with Ric Flair, and the Intercontinental title once as well.

Within minutes of the news that Piper has passed away, several wrestling legends and current Superstars and Divas started writing tributes to the Hall of Famer on Twitter and Instagram. “One of the true greats of all cetime. My heart goes out to his family and the fans he entertained over the years. RIP Rowdy,” wrote John Cena. “Just heard my friend and a huge influence on me Hot Rod – Roddy Piper has passed away. Rest well friend, you will be missed. #lifeWellLived,” wrote JBL. “Grew up a fan (still have my Hot Rod shirt), became a colleague, and most importantly, became a friend. Bagpipes are playing #RIPHotRod,” said fellow Hall of Famer Adam “Edge” Copeland. Jim Ross, who tonight is inducting Jim Crockett into the NWA Legends Hall of Heroes wrote that he will be doing the honors tonight with a heavy heart. “#RIPRoddyPiper my friend. Thoughts w/ his family.” Another man who spent years working with Piper, The Iron Sheik, sent his message in all caps typical Sheik style. “RODDY PIPER. I LOVE YOU FOREVER. GOD BLESS YOU BUBBA.” WWE Divas Summer Rae and Lilian Garcia also shared their thoughts. “A legend gone. It was an honor to have met him after years of watching him. My prayers go out to his family & loved ones,” wrote Summer, while Garcia said, “Feel so sad hearing Rowdy Roddy Piper has passed away. Always brought a smile 2 my face when I saw him.” Goldberg, who worked with Piper in WCW said that Piper was one of the guys and he was going to miss him. Virgil, who worked with Piper during their feud against the Million Dollar Man, wrote, “My main man. Always had my back. RIP #RoddyPiper.” Chris Jericho posted a photo of Piper and himself on Instagram and called him a WrestleMania rival. “One of the greatest who ever lived, but more importantly a legit sweet family man with a good heart. God bless you Rod….See you on the other side.” El Rey Network, which broadcasts Lucha Underground, tweeted, “RIP Roddy Piper. An ass kicker to the end,” while Dana White, the President at UFC added, “Sad day. RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper.” Meanwhile, Colt Toombs, the son of Piper and an aspiring wrestler, also wrote a message regarding his father on Twitter. “My father @R_Roddy_Piper was a great man and my best friend I will miss him forever and will alway try to be the man he raised me to be.”

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon called Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper “one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE.” McMahon added that Piper was beloved by millions around the world and extended his deepest condolences to his family. Meanwhile, a short statement on WWE.COM read, “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. WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Toombs’ family, friends and fans.” TNA President Dixie Carter also wrote on Twitter about Piper’s passing. “So saddened to hear of the passing of @R_Roddy_Piper…. Such a talent. Our thoughts & prayers are with his family…”

Hulk Hogan told TMZ that he’s devastated over the passing of his friend Rowdy Roddy Piper. “I will forever miss him. He was my best friend. He isva legend,” Hogan said. The two were pretty much responsible for making WrestleMania I a huge success, ensuring that the then WWF stays alive after Vince McMahon banked everything on the show. The feud between Piper and Hogan leading up to WrestleMania and the involvement of MTV and Mr T was one of the most important moments in WWE’s history. “God’s gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need, find peace. Much love forever,” Hogan added.

credit: Wrestling-Online Newsletter #4487‏

Colin Vassallo is the editor of Wrestling-Online

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