Wrestling great dies: Rowdy Roddy Piper

Published: August 1, 2015

Wrestling great dies: Rowdy Roddy Piper, One of the most famous, entertaining and controversial figures in the history of pro-wrestling has died. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is dead at 61 years old according to multiple reports.

The story initially broke at TMZ with news that Piper died of cardiac arrest while in his sleep.

Piper’s legacy extended to mixed martial arts when current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey approached the wrestling superstar for permission to use the “Rowdy” nickname. Rousey approached Piper prior to her first amateur MMA bout through their mutual connection to “Judo” Gene LeBell to ask permission. Piper gave his approval and Rousey has returned “Rowdy” to a place of prominence.

Rousey told the story on Jimmy Kimmel Live last year.

Piper’s death comes with a sad bit of timing as word of his passing came just moments after Rousey weighed in for her UFC 190 title defense against Bethe Correia.

The son of “Rowdy,” Colt Toombs, briefly flirted with an MMA career before dropping a decision to Art Becerra at Tachi Palace Fights 3 in his pro debut.

Piper had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006 but was said to be cancer-free at the time of his death.

MMAjunkie caught up with the WWE Hall of Famer ahead of March’s WrestleMania 31 event. Piper was one of the pioneers of the annual mega-event, serving as headliner for the then WWF’s first WrestleMania, partnering with Paul Orndorff against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

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