'Rowdy' Roddy Piper Dead at 61

He died in his sleep
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2015 6:03 PM CDT
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper Dead at 61
Mickey Rourke, center, star of "The Wrestler," poses with former pro wrestlers "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, left, and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine at the premiere of the film in 2008.   (AP Photo)

His parents named him Roderick George Toombs, but the world came to know him as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The wrestling legend died last night in his sleep of cardiac arrest, reports TMZ. Piper is a World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer who was one of its biggest stars in the 1980s, when he wrestled against the likes of Hulk Hogan. Though Piper had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2006, he told the Hillsboro Tribune last year that he'd been cancer-free for five years.

That full interview in the Tribune is worth reading for Piper fans. A snippet, in which he talks about the wrestling biz:

  • "The entertainment of the sport is so big right now. It’s the biggest traveling show in the world. The respect for the sport has grown considerably, too. It’s not a dirty business anymore. When I got into it, it was a very dirty business. Very black cloud; very disrespected business. It was very rough for a long time. I’m proud to see what it has become. I’m not mad at anybody. Well, I’m mad at a lot of people, but mostly because of mistakes I’ve made."
(Last month saw the death of another wrestling icon, Dusty Rhodes.)

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