Roddy Piper: Kilt-wearing, bad-mouthing WWE villain known for his long-running feud in the ring with Hulk Hogan

He was also active in the charity Stand for the Silent, an organisation aimed at helping the victims of bullying and bringing awareness to the issue

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The Independent Online

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper was the kilt-wearing trash-talker who headlined the first WrestleMania and later found film stardom. Piper, who went by the nickname "Hot Rod", is the second WWE Hall of Fame incumbent to die this summer, following the death in June of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Piper's death came days after Hulk Hogan, his biggest rival for decades, was fired by the WWE after using racial slurs in a conversation captured on a sex tape.

Piper and Hogan battled for years and headlined some of the biggest matches during the 1980s. Hogan and Mr T beat Piper and Paul Orndorff in March 1985 at the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden, in a bout that featured Muhammad Ali as guest referee.

Piper was a villain for the early portion of his career, once cracking a coconut over the skull of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.

WWE chairman Vince McMahon called Piper "one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world." Although he was Canadian, he often appeared in a kilt and came to the ring blowing bagpipes in a nod to his Scottish heritage.

As well as finding fame in the ring, he also starred in John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic They Live and delivered the memorable line: "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass – and I'm all out of bubblegum." Carpenter said, "I feel like I've just lost one of my close friends." He continued acting for most of the next three decades.

Piper was born Roderick Toombs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He became a household name through his rivalry with Hogan, and through WWE storylines involving the pop star Cyndi Lauper and her friend, the wrestler Captain Lou Albano.

Piper's feud with Hogan led to an MTV special, The War to Settle the Score in 1985. Piper was cast as the villain, and his disqualification led to Hogan keeping the WWF championship title. A brawl at the end of that fight would lead to the first WrestleMania.

Jonny Fairplay, star of the US reality-TV show Survivor, started work in 2001 as Piper's personal assistant. "I would wake him up in the morning and yell at him from the door of his bedroom," he said. "I'd say, 'Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, the guy who never beat Hulk Hogan...'" Fairplay, who named his daughter Piper in the wrestler's honour, said: "Rowdy Piper should be remembered as the greatest bad guy of all time."

More recently, Piper appeared in the television prgramme Celebrity Wife Swap, trading spouses with fellow former wrestler Ric Flair.

Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006, but later said he had recovered. In recent months he had been active in the charity Stand for the Silent, an organisation aimed at helping the victims of bullying and bringing awareness to the issue.

Roderick Toombs (Roddy Piper), wrestler and actor: born Saskatoon, Canada 17 April 1954; married Kitty (three daughters, one son); died Hollywood, California 31 July 2015.

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