Earlier today, TMZ reported that WWE legend ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper — or Roderick George Toombs — was found dead at a Hollywood home. The 61-year-old battled with Hodgkins Lymphoma from 2006-2014, but the WWE icon died from cardiac arrest at around noon on Friday, July 31st.
Piper was a star throughout the ’80’s and participated in the first ever WrestleMania event alongside Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. The wrestling dynamo was also an inspiration to childhood Piper fan and UFC bantamweight women’s champ, Ronda Rousey. The arm bar queen shares Piper’s nickname, Rowdy, after the WWE heel generously handed it over her.
“So then maybe a year ago-ish (my timing’s not great), Ronda and Gene called me, “Piper revealed in an interview with FightLand last year. She was so, so excited and so beautiful, saying, “Would you mind? I’ll make you proud and I’m giving it everything you got.” And I said, “You go, gal. You go!”
Rousey to dedicate title fight to ‘Rowdy’ Piper
On Saturday night, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey plans to dedicate her main event fight with Bethe Correia to the pro wrestling legend who is the inspiration for her ‘Rowdy’ nickname.
Somebody asked me, “What would you think if ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey would become the face of the UFC?” I said I think it would be great. I think it would be a really great thing.”
Piper’s rep told TMZ that he was devastated by the news and referred to the former wrestler as good friend as well as a client.
“Rod was a good friend as well as a client and one of the most generous, sincere and authentic people I have ever known. This is a true loss to us all.”
Rowdy leaves behind four children and his wife, Kitty. His son Colton is following in his fathers footsteps by taking up a career in professional wrestling.
UFC president Dana White also tweeted out his tribute to Piper following news of his death:
— Dana White (@danawhite) July 31, 2015
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