Roderick George Toombs, famously know by his in-ring name of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, died of an apparent heart attack overnight Friday at the age of 61,
The news was first reported by TMZ Sports, and later confirmed by Piper's agent Jay Schacter in an email to Variety.
“Rod passed peacefully in his sleep last night,” Schacter said in an email. “I am shocked and beyond devastated.”
The professional wrestler and actor shot to fame as a primary antagonist to Hulk Hogan in the mid 1980’s in the World Wrestling Federation, and was well-known for his Piper’s Pit segment.
"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world," WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family."
Piper was also well known for his acting roles, including the lead in the cult hit “They Live.” Co-star Keith David share his condolences on Twitter.
In 2012, Piper helped bring back “Portland Wrestling Uncut” which aired on KPTV and KPDX.
Piper and his wife Kitty lived in Hillsboro. He was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006.
Piper was remembered by his many Portland-area friends, including Rob Powells, owner of Rocket Fizz candy and soda company.
“I’m absolutely devastated… It’s sad – it’s one of the saddest days of my life,” Powells told Fox 12.
Piper had been scheduled to appear on “The Inappropriate Earl Podcast” Friday, and host Earl Skakel tweeted his shock over the death.
Piper is survived by his wife, three daughters and son. His son Colt Toombs, who also entertained during the *Portland Wrestling Uncut* days in the Fox 12 studio and is still pursuing a pro wrestling career of his own, shared his thoughts on Twitter Friday.
Copyright 2015 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.