Friends, fans gather for memorial to 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper - KPTV - FOX 12

Friends, fans gather for memorial to 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A crowd of fans and colleagues gathered in Portland Monday to honor wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

There are a lot of local connections to Piper, born Roderick Toombs, as he and his wife lived in Hillsboro.

He was of course best known as a WWE Hall of Famer, but the international star was also an author, comedian, husband and father, who put his family and his fans first.

With his signature bagpipe music playing, the intimate crowd gathered to remember the life of Piper. The service, organized by his fans, was held in the parking lot of Mt. Olivet church, outside the building where "Portland Wrestling" was once held.

Among the speakers was fellow wrestler Len Denton, known in the ring as the Grappler.

“The one thing about Roddy Piper that touches me the most,” he said, “I'll never forget the one thing Roddy lived by, he'd say this right here: family comes first, no matter what."

Colleagues, including Fox 12’s Joe Vithayathil, who became becoming good friends with Piper through Portland Wrestling Uncut, shared stories and memories.

“It was the most memorable six months of my life, and that's not an exaggeration," Vithayathil told the crowd.

"Hot Rod's" sudden death at the age of 61 is still a shock for so many, who say his passion and character are the foundation of his legacy, one that will last forever.

“Roddy Piper was a great human being, he was a better human being than he was a wrestler, and by the way, he was the greatest wrestler of all time," said former Portland Uncut wrestler Kelly Shafer.

Piper's family will be gathering in the Portland area Tuesday for a private service, and ask the public to join in a moment of silence  at 10:30 a.m., the same time his funeral will be starting.

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