Rocky Johnson, a WWE Hall of Famer who was also the father of Dwayne Johnson, died on Wednesday.
He was 75 years old.
Johnson started out in the National Wrestling Alliance in the1960s, but earned widespread notoriety and acclaim when he joined the WWE in the 1980s.
Along with Tony Atlas, Johnson became the organization’s first African-American tag team champions when they competed as The Soul Patrol.
Known as the “Soul Man,” Rocky ohnson retired from wrestling in 1991 and was inducted in the aforementioned Hall of Fame in 2008.
His son, Dwayne, would continue his wrestling legacy and transform it into a blended sports and entertainment career, which now almost solely consists of making blockbuster movies.
The Rock does, on occasion, return to the WWE ring, however.
Said the WWE to open a lengthy statement tonight in honor of the late Johnson:
WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles), a WWE Hall of Famer, former World Tag Team Champion, and father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has passed away at age 75.
WWE extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans.
“The National Wrestling Alliance is saddened to hear of the passing of Rocky Johnson,” added the NWA in a statement, adding:
“His legacy stretches across every promotion. He was a champion everywhere he went including holding the NWA Georgia Championship. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.”
Dwayne Johnson, of course, adopted The Rock as his wrestling moniker in honor of his dad.
The two remained close up until the day Rocky passed away.
The Rock even presented his father with a brand new car and a house for Christmas.
“My dad, Rocky Johnson is a minimalist. Always has been. Never asks me for much and over the years his needs are always the barest,” wrote Dwayne of his dad at the time, concluding:
“I] appreciate the fun times he would beat my ass in the gym so bad when I was 13 and say “If you’re gonna throw up, go outside.. and if you’re gonna cry, then go home to your mother.”
I hated it then, but I embrace it now. Made a man outta me. Without pissing on my turkey.. Just a small way of saying thank you dad and Merry Christmas.
Upon his retirement from in-ring competition, Johnson worked as a trainer… most notably with his son.
After The Rock’s in-ring debut, Johnson made an appearance at WrestleMania 13 to interfere on his powerful kid’s behalf in his win over The Sultan.
Johnson is survived by The Rock, as well as his other son, Curtis, and his daughter, Wanda.
May Rocky Johnson rest in peace.