TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Rocky Johnson, a WWE pioneer and father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has died, according to the WWE.
According to TMZ, Johnson, who was living in the Tampa Bay area, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson — started out in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1960s, but got widespread notoriety when he joined the WWE in the 80s. He and Tony Atlas became the league’s first African-American tag team champions as The Soul Patrol.
Some of his biggest rivals were Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco, and Adrian Adonis. Rocky retired in 1991 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
Obviously, his son followed in his footsteps. It’s widely known that Dwayne adopted his dad’s name for his own wrestling moniker — and certainly carried the torch lit.
TMZ reported they remained close — with The Rock even gifting his father a brand new car and a house. In 2019, he published his autobiography — “Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story” — and his son wrote the foreword.
Rocky Johnson was 75.