Rocky Johnson: Tributes paid as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s wrestler father dies aged 75
Written by News on 16/01/2020
Tributes have been paid to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s father and former professional wrestler Rocky Johnson, following his death aged 75.
Johnson, who was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, was a trailblazer in the ring and was the first African-American WWE tag team champion.
He was known as “Soul Man” and retired in 1991, with his son Dwayne continuing his wrestling legacy before becoming a major Hollywood star.
Dwayne Johnson, now a major Hollywood star, inducted his father into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
In a statement announcing his death, WWE said it “extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans”.
No cause of death was given.
Fans and figures from the wrestling world have been paying tribute.
Actor and retired wrestler Mick Foley tweeted: “I am so sorry to hear of the passing of the great Rocky Johnson. Always a gentleman, I always enjoyed talking with him.
“My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the fans who loved him. A very sad day for wrestling.”
Matt Hardy, who wrestled alongside his brother Jeff as the Hardy Boyz, wrote: “Saddened to hear about the passing of Rocky Johnson.
“Rocky was always extremely friendly and kind to me every time I interacted with him over the years. My condolences and thoughts go out to his family.”
American wrestler Dana Brooke added: “My heart goes out to the family of @TheRock and may prayers be sent your way during this time! I am sorry for your loss!”
Johnson began his career as a wrestler in 1964 in South Ontario, and soon after legally changed his name to his “Rocky Johnson” moniker.
He was recruited by the World Wrestling Federation where he feuded with the likes of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis.
He also enjoyed success when he teamed up with Tony Atlas as The Soul Patrol, with the two men becoming the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history in 1983.