Rowdy Roddy Piper, the “Greatest Villain in Wrestling History” Passes Away at the Age of 61

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Death comes to us all and if we’re luckily enough, we would have lead a full life when it’s our time to depart.

At the age of 61,  death came to the legendary WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and actor Roddy “Rowdy” Piper… and his life was definitely full.

Considered one of the greatest legends of the wrestling community, he was known for being an exceptional “talker” and “heel;” so much so, WWE has anointed him as the #1 Greatest Villain in Wrestling History.

Born in 1954 as Roderick George Toombs, Piper’s career exploded in the 80’s, wrestling in the first ever Wrestlemania. It wasn’t until 1984, when he was bestowed his interview segment famously known as Piper’s Pit that people really started to take notice.

Considered “groundbreaking” at the time, Piper’s unscripted sit-down interviews with fellow wrestlers help create feuds with other wrestlers, especially since the interview would always end in a fight between him and his guest. The segment later became so popular, it was taken on the road.

Feuding with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, Jimmy Snuka and many others, his interviews were the platform for Miz TV, The Cutting Edge, Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel and many others.

Also known as “Hot Rod,” throughout the years Piper would wrestle for WCW and make appearance at TNA events.

In 2006, Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, but like a true champion he beat cancer.

While Piper had a fruitful wrestling career, he also broke through in acting starring in over forty movies, television shows and cartoons; however he will be famously known for his ad-lib “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum” in 1988’s John Carpenter’s They Live. 

In 2005, Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and in April 2014, Piper appeared as a regular cast member on the WWE Network original reality show Legends’ House. He also started a podcast; Piper’s Pit with Roddy Piper, in association with PodcastOne; the podcast is also hosted on

Piper also made his mark in video games as a playeable character in numbers WWE games. In 2013, Piper appeared in as himself in Saints Row IV, where there’s even an unlockable Roddy Piper outfit the Protagonist can wear called “Rowdy Roddy Piper Suit, ” in addition to helping you fight President Keith David in a section of the game that is an homage to They Live.

WWE released the following statement:

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.

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon followed with:

Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

Roddy is survived by his wife Kitty and their 4 kids — including 3 daughters and son Colton who’s pursuing a career in professional wrestling.

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