Legendary Canadian professional wrestler, Rocky (Soul Man) Johnson, and father actor Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson, has passed away at the age of 75. The cause of death is not known yet.
The news of the former wrestler's death was given by the World Wrestling Entertainment, through a statement posted on their website. "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," read the statement.
Earlier, sports journalist and editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer, broke the news on Twitter. "What horrible news, Rocky Johnson passed away, Dwayne's father. Our best to Dwayne, Ricky, Ata and the entire family," he tweeted.
The life of Rocky Johnson
Born as Wayde Douglas Bowles in Amherst, Nova Scotia as the fourth son to Lillian and James Henry Bowles S. At the age of 16, Johnson shifted to Toronto where he started working as a truck driver. Even though he started his initial training to become a boxer and had a fight with legendary Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, Johnson's heart was always set to wrestling.
It was in 1964, that he legally changed his name to his "Rocky Johnson" after his debut in Southern Ontario. Johnson, started his career National Wrestling Alliance joined WWE, formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation, in 1983. He paired with Tony Atlas to form The Soul Patrol, and the duo defeated The Wild Samoans the same year. With this feat, they became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history.
Johnson bowed out of the professional wrestling in 1991. WWE said in its statement: "The 'Soul Man' retired from the ring in 1991, but his imprint continued to be felt on WWE for years to come. Post-retirement, Johnson had a hand in training his son, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson."
In 2008 'The Rock' installed his father into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Dwyane's befitting tribute to his legendary father
In a June 2018 post on the occasion of Father's Day, Dwyane took to Instagram to express his gratitude to his legendary father. He wrote: "Happy Father's Day to this hardly ever smiling OG badass. Little boys by nature, look up to and idolize their old man. They want to be just like em, do whatever they do and are always looking for their approval."
"Funny thing is the day I stopped looking for that approval was the day I understood what it meant to be man and more importantly, a father. That shift lifted me to a new level of gratitude for the tough love he always gave. Years later as a man and father of three girls, I know that tough love is a helluva lot better than no love at all. I'll take it. It's made me who I am today. Grateful to the original Rock. #HappyFathersDay #KingStache #RockyJohnson," he went on.