UPDATE (7/31/15): WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has expressed his condolences in a post on WWE.com:
"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family."
Piper's longtime friend, foe, and tag team partner Ric Flair also posted some words on Facebook:
See original story from 7/30/15 below.
While the full details surrounding his death are still unavailable, TMZ Sports is reporting that WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper has passed away, reportedly dying from natural causes at his home in Hollywood (SportsCenter is reporting that Piper suffered a heart attack). Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006 but had said he was cancer free last November. He was 61.
For many fans, Piper was the Lex Luthor to Hulk Hogan's Superman. While so much is said about Hulkamania being the reason the first Wrestlemania was a success, every hero needs a heel, and Piper was the hottest heel in the WWF at the time. He's the guy who everyone wanted to see get the snot beat out of, which was one of his strong suits in his career which spanned almost four decades and netted him championship gold in the WWF, WCW, WCCW, and many other federations across the United States (although, oddly enough, he never won a world heavyweight championship).
While his gimmick was that of a hot-headed, kilt-rocking Scot—his most famous nickname was "Hot Rod"—Piper actually hailed from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He started wrestling professionally at the age of 15, and as he grew, he learned how to talk. Piper was one of the most captivating people on the microphone, which not only led to gigs as a color commentator for the WWF but the creation of his own interview segment, the "Piper's Pit." One such Pit featured one of the most infamous moments in wrestling promo history: Piper smashing then-rival Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka in the head with a coconut.
In 2005, the WWE honored Roddy Piper and his accolades with their highest distinction by inducting him into their Hall of Fame. That was a part of his second return run in the WWE with him making sporadic appearances on WWE programming and hosting Piper's Pits at a number of bigger shows.
During his time as a superstar, Piper was also an actor, appearing everywhere from Saturday Night Live to Walker, Texas Ranger, although his most memorable role was "Nada" in John Carpenter's 1988 film, They Live, which birthed this amazing ad-lib:
Piper was recently in the news defending Hulk Hogan, a man Piper said "didn't have time" to be racist. That followed a dust-up regarding Piper's show on Podcast One and Piper's belief that Steve Austin, who also has a show on that network, was the man who caused his show to be removed. This is said to have been followed by Piper being let go from his WWE Legends deal, although Dave Meltzer reported that those rumors were false.
Whether it was straight shooting on the mic or putting on awesome performances for arenas full of fans, Roddy Piper lived life his way. He is survived by his wife Kitty, his four children, and one grandchild.