Paul Andrew Hawthorne/WireImage
Paul Andrew Hawthorne/WireImage
WWE wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper has died at age 61.
The Canadian star's agent, Jay Schachter, confirmed his death in a statement to E! News on Friday.
"Rod passed peacefully in his sleep last night," Schachter said. "I am shocked and beyond devastated. 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, known as Rod or Roddy to his friends, was born Roderick George Toombs in Canada and lived in Oregon and Los Angeles in recent years with his family. He is survived by wife Kitty Toombs, daughters Anastacia, Ariel, and Falon, and son Colton.
"My dad @R_Roddy_Piper has passed away," Ariel said on Twitter. "I'll always keep him close to my heart. There are no words for the depth of sadness and loss I feel."
"My father @R_Roddy_Piper was a great man and my best friend," Colton tweeted. "I will miss him forever and will alway try to be the man he raised me to be."
Piper rose to fame in the '80s and '90s as a wrestler, including a "villain" character, in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which became World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). His nicknames were "Rowdy" and "Hot Rod" and he wore a Scottish kilt.
"RODDY PIPER. I LOVE YOU FOREVER. GOD BLESS YOU BUBBA," wrestler the Iron Sheik tweeted.
"We've shared the ring, traveled the world, maintained a friendship throughout the ups and downs of the wrestling world, and battled to see who was the better heel," wrestling star Ric Flair wrote on Facebook. "It's almost impossible to express my grief. My condolences to his children and to his wife Kitty. I'll miss you Roddy. The world will never be as Rowdy without you."
Piper's character was one of the main bad guys on the '80s WWF cartoon Rock 'n' Wrestling. He also appeared in movies, such as the 1988 sci-film They Live, where he became famous for the line, "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."
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The wrestler was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2005.
"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved my millions of fans around the world," WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family."
Added the WWE: "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."
Comedian Earl Skakel was supposed to host Piper on his podcast, Inappropriate Earl, on Friday afternoon. The wrestler had joked on Facebook on Thursday that the interview would be "everything except normal."
Skakel told E! News that Piper, who last appeared on his show two months ago, did not show up and that his wife texted him to say he was unable to make it.
In recent years, Piper was often seen at comedy clubs in L.A., namely the World Famous Comedy Store, which made him a regular performer and had his name painted on its outer walls alongside those of hundreds standup comics, including some of the most legendary. Onstage, the wrestler told old, hilarious wrestling stories and befriended many comedians.
"I love him like a dad," Skakel told E! News.
—Reporting by Baker Machado