Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson, the legendary pro wrestler and father of Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson, has died after the age of 75.
The news was first announced by Cauliflower Alley Club. They tweeted, “Horrible news to pass along. We just learned that Rocky Johnson passed away today at the age of 75. His accolades in this business, all the people he influenced, all his accomplishments, and we are so deeply sorry and wish his family nothing but the most love at this time.”
The World Wrestling Entertainment confirmed the news on social media on Wednesday (Jan. 15). “WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson has passed away,” the company said in a statement.
Johnson began his pro wrestling career in the mid-1960s with the National Alliance Wrestling. He joined the WWE 20 years later. Johnson and Tony Atlas, collectively known as the Soul Patrol, made WWE history as the first African-Americans to become World Tag Team Champions. Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
Johnson retired from wrestling in 1991, but started training his son Dwayne. He helped his son secure a development deal that launched his career as a wrestler and later as an actor.
Dwyane recently gifted his father a brand new car and house for Christmas last year. “Brought 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 wrote in an Instagram post.
Last year, Johnson published his autobiography Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story. The Rock wrote the foreword.
A cause of death has not been given.
Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family of Rocky Johnson.