Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s dad, former WWE star Rocky “Soulman” Johnson, has died at the age of 75.
The cause of death has not been revealed.
The WWE confirmed Rocky’s passing, tweeting, “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.”
Rocky's friend, former wrestler Brian Blair revealed that he was struggling with a unspecified illness during his final days. Blair told The Associated Press, "He was just under the weather, he thought he had the flu or something. I said, ‘You, need to get checked out, Rocky.’ He said he’d be OK. Then he missed this Sunday, a few days ago. When I talked to him again, he said he still wasn’t feeling good and he still missed church. He still didn’t get checked out. I talked to Sheila and she said he was just being stubborn. He died at home, today.”
Rocky began wrestling in the mid-'60s and eventually started his career in the WWE in 1983. He retired eight years later.
Dwayne has credited Rocky with training him early in his wrestling career while he was a teenager.
Last year, Dwayne showed his love for his dad in an Instagram video. He said, “I called my dad and I said, ‘Look, you're probably happy where you're at but I want to do something for you. I want to buy you a brand-new home, wherever you want to live, you can live. My dad's an old-school tough guy, I said, ‘What the hell are you nervous about?' And he said, ‘Well,' he was searching for words. ‘No one ever called to tell me they were gonna buy me a house before and the fact that it's you, it's my son, I'm so proud of you and I love you so much.'"
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Great chat with my old man. Felt good to my cold 🖤 to hear him express his love. He’s a weathered soul and like all weathered souls, there’s often a harsh storied path that got them there. Well for my pops that path started at 13yrs old when his mom kicked him out of his house on Christmas day and forced him to live on the streets (very true and fucked up story) so his reality of compassion and love was forged thru pain and toughness. He raised me with that tough physical love and used to beat my ass in the gyms and on wrestling mats. I hated it then as a little boy, but grateful for it today as a man. It’s shaped my DNA and helped inform how I raise my own babies (minus the ass kickings;) but always instilling the value of hard work and discipline. For that I’m grateful and this one felt good. Crazy how full circle life can come. Enjoy your new house pop - what a storied path and thanks for the ass kickings 😉💪🏾🏠 #weathered
Smiling throughout the video, he continued, “I never heard my dad talk like that. It felt good to me and it felt good to my heart. You know, my dad used to beat my a--. Tough love, and I hated it back then, but I'm so grateful for it now. It just felt good to kind of give back to the ones who raised you. So, love you too, Pop."
A few years ago, Dwayne showed his appreciation for Rocky by buying him a car for Christmas. Along with a pic, The Rock wrote on Instagram, “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.”
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Bought 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. Crazy story, my dad's dad died when he was 13yrs old. That Christmas, my dad's mom had her new boyfriend over for Christmas dinner. Her boyfriend got drunk and pissed on the turkey. My dad went outside, got a shovel, drew a line in the snow and said if you cross that line I'll kill you. The drunk crossed it and my dad laid him out cold as a block of ice. Cops were called. They told my dad's mom that when her boyfriend regains consciousness, he's gonna kill your son so one of them has got to go. In front of the entire family, my dad's mom looked at him and said get out. He was 13yrs old and now homeless. That f*cked up true story happened in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1954. He needed the bare minimum then, just like does now. Over the years, I've moved him into a big home, got him trucks to drive - which he'll literally drive into the ground until I get him something else. Hell, I'll get him anything he wants, but the SOB just won't ask;). Every Christmas, I always think about that story and my dad having every odd stacked against him at 13, but he fought thru it and still made something of himself. Makes me appreciate his struggle and hard work. Also, makes me appreciate the fun times he would beat my ass in the gym so bad when I was 13 and say "If you're gonna throw up, go outside.. and if you're gonna cry, then go home to your mother". I hated it then, but I embrace it now. Made a man outta me. Without pissing on my turkey. 😂👍🏾. Just a small way of saying thank you dad and Merry Christmas! #DwantaClaus🎅🏾