Former WWE Superstar Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson passed away at the age of 75 years old, and aside from bringing the world years of electrifying sports entertainment, he also brought the world one of the most dominating Superstars of all time with his son, The Rock. The WWE released a statement announcing the death of Johnson, who had been living near Tampa Bay, FL after retiring from the life of a professional wrestler.
“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 statement read.
Rocky Johnson joined the WWE in 1983 and had “several memorable rivalries with the likes of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis,” according to the organization. He was cemented in history after teaming up with Tony Atlas and becoming part of the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history.
He retired in 1991 but went on to take a personal hand in training his son, Dwayne Johnson, who went on to become The Rock.
According to WWE, “The Rock would become one of the biggest stars in the history of sports-entertainment and carried on his father’s legacy with pride.”
WWE said they extend their condolences to “Johnson’s family, friends and fans.”
The Rock has not issued a statement yet, but he’s no doubt devastated. The “Jumanji” star is extremely close with his parents and regularly features them on social media.
Back in 2016, The Rock bought his dad a car for Christmas — he’s bought many family members cars — and wrote a touching tribute about his father.
“Bought my dad a Christmas gift and surprised him. He’s had a hard life. This one felt good.
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.”
He also talked about the ways he’s been able to repay his father over the years for turning him into the man he is today and helping to create such an amazing life.
“Over the years, I’ve moved him into a big home, got him trucks to drive – which he’ll literally drive into the ground until I get him something else. Hell, I’ll get him anything he wants, but the SOB just won’t ask;). Every Christmas, I always think about that story and my dad having every odd stacked against him at 13, but he fought thru it and still made something of himself. Makes me appreciate his struggle and hard work. Also, makes me 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.”
R.I.P. “Soul Man”