Professional wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper dead at 61

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Actor Roddy Piper attends the world premiere of 'The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened?' at the Egyptian Theatre on April 30, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for TDOSLWH)

LOS ANGELES — “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, one of the most iconic villains in the history of professional wrestling, died at the age of 61 on Thursday.

Piper, whose real name was Roderick George Toombs, died “peacefully in his sleep” in Los Angeles, according to his talent agent Jay Schachter, Los Angeles Times reported.

“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,” Schachter wrote in an email. “This is a true loss to us all.”

Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006, but completed radiation therapy the following year.

Schachter said it did not appear that Piper’s death was linked to his previous cancer diagnosis, but he was not certain.

“He was in great health as far as I knew,” Schachter said.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office could not immediately comment on the case.

Piper, who was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2005, was one of pro wrestling’s most famous villains in the 1980s and 1990s. He also had the honor of competing in the main event of the first Wrestlemania in a tag-team match against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

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