Roddy Piper wrestles with a new foe: cancer, by Tom
Hallman Jr - 3rd December 2006
Rowdy Roddy Piper wrestles with a new
Hodgkin's disease - The Hillsboro resident and famous
brawler vows to beat the illness
Roddy Piper, the Portland-area wrestling bad boy familiar
to fans worldwide, has Hodgkin's disease, according
to announcements posted on his Web site and by World
Wrestling Entertainment. Piper
vows to defeat the aggressive lymphatic cancer, which
often responds well to radiation therapy.
now 52, started his professional career at 15. He
built his reputation with flamboyant performances,
a smart mouth, appearances in dozens of low-budget
movies and highly publicized feuds with the likes
of Hulk Hogan. His wild persona sometimes played out
in private life, and he has had some driving-under-the-influence
run-ins with the law.
in Canada, his real name is Roderick George Toombs.
He's married, has four children and a grandchild.
And even though wrestling has taken him across the
world, Piper -- as he is generally known -- has considered
the Hillsboro area his home for the past two decades.
was succinct in his statement. He and his family expressed
thanks for the "overwhelming support" from
fans across the world. "It seems like I have
been fighting someone, something, someplace, in some
manner, my whole life," Piper wrote. "But
this fight is one I am gonna win!"
is affiliated with World Wrestling Entertainment,
and the organization released a statement saying Piper
was "sent home early from WWE's early November
tour of the United Kingdom and hospitalized for surgery,
where doctors removed a mass at the spinal cord with
an enlarged lymph node. The mass was completely removed,
but the lymph node was positive for Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Radiation therapy is used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma.
It is an extremely successful procedure, so the prognosis
is very good."
Villa, a WWE official, was unsure where Piper was
receiving treatment or when the family would release
more information or consent to be interviewed.
of Piper's illness sent ripples through the wrestling
world. Greg Tingle,
a fan in Sydney, Australia, has a Web page devoted
to his hero. "Roddy Piper is one of the world's
most successful and respected wrestlers of all
time," Tingle said in a phone interview.
"He is a true icon."
his official bio, Piper claims to have fought a record
7,000 matches as a pro. He became a local hero/villain
among Portland fans during the years he was a featured
attraction on Portland Wrestling, which was broadcast
for nearly 40 years on KPTV. A TV announcer interviewed
the wrestlers during breaks. Threats and insults would
hurled their way, prompting a melee -- all part of
was the perfect setting for Piper, who arrived in
the late 1970s. The real entertainment didn't occur
in the ring but during the interviews. The camera
loves Piper and he knows it. As much an actor as an
athlete, Piper could ad-lib with the best of them.
He was cocky, smarmy and yet all at once charming,
able to trash-talk in an instant,
feign indignation and then trade blows -- all before
the commercial break.
who'd spent years on the road honing his act, knew
exactly what the crowd expected. He wore a kilt, and
bagpipes sounded when he approached the ring. He was
named "Rowdy" because of his temper. And
he had all kinds of moves: the sleeper hold, the eye
poke, the inverted atomic drop and, of course, the
infamous low blow.
by show, his popularity grew.
started as a brawler and, over the years, matured
and treated it as a profession," Tingle said.
"He knew it was entertainment and a business.
He helped bridge the old school and the new era of
joined the World Wrestling Federation, which later
became WWE. Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine named
Piper the Most Hated Wrestler in 1984 and 1985. In
1985, Piper and Paul Orndorff teamed up against Hulk
Hogan and Mr. T in Wrestlemania 1. In 2005, Piper
was elected to the WWE Hall of Fame.
has appeared in more than 30 movies and is the co-author
of a book, "In the Pit With Piper: Roddy Gets
Rowdy," referring to his "Piper's Pit"
segment on World Wrestling Federation TV.
been around the world seven times," Piper once
said, "been stabbed three times, been down in
an airplane and once dated the Bearded Lady. I've
had Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy as a tag-team partner.
I've been in 30 car crashes, none of 'em my fault,
I swear. . . . OK, they were probably all my fault."
Roddy Piper official website
and Community Entrepreneurs