Hall of Fame wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper died at his Los Angeles home on Thursday, his manager said. Piper, whose real name was Roderick George Toombs, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma a decade ago but his manager said he doesn't think the ailment was the cause of death. Photo: Ezio Petersen / UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, July 31 (UPI) -- Roddy Piper, one of the most legendary "villains" in professional wrestling history, died Thursday at his Southern California home, officials said.
Piper, nicknamed "Rowdy," died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home on Thursday, manager Jay Schachter said Friday. He was 61.
"I am shocked and beyond devastated," he said in an email. "He was an amazing man and a true friend. He was one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known.
"This is a true loss to us all."
Piper, whose real name was Roderick George Toombs, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma nine years ago and had completed radiation treatment, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Schachter said he doesn't believe the entertainer's death was linked to Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The Los Angeles coroner did not immediately comment on Piper's death, the Times report said.
Piper became known to wrestling fans around the world during the 1980s, portraying one of the "villains" of what was then called the World Wrestling Federation. He was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame a decade ago.
Also known as "Hot Rod," Piper made a name for himself by delivering melodramatic remarks to the crowd during big events, wearing a Scottish kilt and entering arenas to bagpipe music.
In addition to his wrestling career, Piper also appeared in numerous TV programs and films.
"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world," WWE Chief Executive Vince McMahon said in a statement. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family."