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‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper passes away at age 61

One of the most well-known and beloved bad guys in wrestling history is no longer with us.

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

On Friday, TMZ reported that wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer Roderick Toombs -- better known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper -- died of cardiac arrest at his home in Hollywood. WWE confirmed the news.

"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world," said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family."

The Canadian became a household name in the 1980s during his legendary feuds with Hulk Hogan and Cyndi Lauper, being the main heel in the then-WWF's "Rock & Wrestling" revolution. He also helped fuel Hulkamania in a legendary boom period for the sport.

Piper was a Golden Gloves boxer and trained in judo under Gene LeBell before becoming a pro wrestler. Initially working as a skinny jobber in the midwest for the AWA in the mid-1970s, his career turned a corner when he went to California and found his calling as a loudmouthed heel.

In between successful runs with the WWF (now WWE) in the 1980s and 1990s, Piper starred in John Carpenter's cult classic film They Live. He also performed in WCW and TNA and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

Piper had been active in the past month. His popular podcast had been pulled from the PodcastOne network after an impression by guest Will Sasso drew the ire of Steve Austin, whose podcast also appeared on the network. As recently as Monday, Piper was appearing in the press, sticking up for Hulk Hogan in the light of Hogan's racism controversy.

Piper had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in November 2006, but claimed he was "cancer free" in 2014.