Actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is who he is today because of his father, former professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. He said so himself back in 2018 when he wished Rocky a “happy father’s day” on Instagram.
The Rock wrote, “Happy Father’s Day to this hardly ever smiling OG bada**. Little boys, by nature, look up to and idolize their old man. They want to be just like [them], do whatever they do, and are always looking for their approval.”
He continued, “Funny thing is, the day I stopped looking for that approval was the day I understood what it meant to be a 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.”
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Father Passes Away at the Age of 75
Sadly, on January 15, news broke that Rocky had passed away. He was 75 years old. Rumblings of his passing began when Dave Meltzer, a reporter for the Wrestling Observer, sent out a tweet that read, “What horrible news, Rocky Johnson passed away, Dwayne’s father. Our best to Dwayne, Ricky, Ata, and the entire family.”
His son then shared a lengthy statement following his father’s passing to his Instagram page. He also shared a throwback video of Rocky during his wrestling days.
The rock wrote, “I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way through this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities.”
“Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deeply complicated sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons. Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side.”
The Rock continued, seemingly revealing his father’s death came as a shock to their family:
“But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. I’m in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass. Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish. Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. Pain-free, regret-free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier-breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high.”
Rocky, who rose to WWE fame as the “Soul Man” in 1983, was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment hall of fame in 2008 and was also a former World Tag Team Champion along with his partner Tony Atlas. WWE confirmed the news of his passing on its 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.
Johnson’s sports-entertainment career began in the mid-1960s when he made a memorable impression in the National Wrestling Alliance. However, Johnson found his highest levels of success when he began his WWE tenure in 1983.”
As WWE reports, Rocky retired in 1991 just a few years before his son stormed onto the scene. The 75-year-old is described as “one of sports-entertainment’s most influential performers.”
In 2018, Rocky has a rip replacement surgery and as a result, his son bought him a new and bigger car, per the doctor’s orders.
Our thoughts and prayer are with Johnson and his family during this difficult time.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.