Rocky Johnson, The Rock’s Legendary Wrestler Father, Has Died At Age 75

Rocky Johnson – father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a Hall of Fame legend in his own right, and a pioneer for black athletes in professional wrestling – has passed away at the age of 75, according to reports.

The WWE issued an official statement a short time ago, confirming Johnson’s passing.

“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.”

As the “Soul Man” of the WWE, Johnson blazed a trail for black athletes in wrestling’s premiere organisation. Alongside tag team partner Tony Atlas, Johnson captured the then-WWF Tag Team Championship in December of 1983, becoming the first black tag team in WWE history to do so.

Johnson was ultimately inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, alongside his equally revered father-in-law, “High Chief” Peter Maivia.

Ultimately though, it was Johnson’s son – born Dwayne – who by far eclipsed the fame his father established. “The Rock” name itself is a nod to his father, with Dwayne initially debuting in the WWF as Rocky Maivia, a combination of his father and grandfather’s names.

The Rock has yet to issue public comment on his father’s tragic passing. No cause of death is being reported at this time.

RIP Rocky Johnson, one of the greatest to ever do it.