Wrestling legend Rocky Johnson, father to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has passed away at age 75. WWE announced the news Johnson’s death in a statement on Wednesday.
“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,” the WWE statement reads, also adding, “WWE extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans.”
The WWE recognized Johnson, known to his fans as “The Soul Man Rocky Johnson,” as a Hall of Famer in 2008. He was renowned as a tag team specialist and made history with his partner Tony Atlas, together known as the tag team Soul Patrol, when they became the first-ever black tag team to win the WWF Tag Team titles.
Johnson began his wrestling career in 1964 as part of the National Wrestling Alliance, joined the WWF (now WWE) in 1982, and retired in 1991. After retiring, he trained his son Dwayne to be a wrestler. Dwayne’s wrestling name was originally “Rocky Mavia,” which was a combination of his father’s name (Rocky Johnson) and his grandfather’s name (Peter Maivia). Eventually he changed it to “The Rock,” a name that now endures as a tribute to his family’s wrestling heritage.
Many in the wrestling community have taken to social media to express their condolences and remember Johnson as a wrestling icon.
“I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the great Rocky Johnson. Always a gentleman, I always enjoyed talking with him. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the fans who loved him. A very sad day for wrestling,” tweeted Mick Foley.
“One of the men I looked up to and one of the best to ever do it. God rest his soul,” tweeted Booker T. Huffman aka Booker T.
Source: IGN.com Rocky Johnson, Father of Dwayne Johnson, Passes Away at 75