Rocky Johnson dead: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's wrestler dad dies aged 75
16 January 2020, 09:10 | Updated: 21 January 2020, 11:13
Tributes have poured in after it was announced that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s dad has died aged 75.
Rocky Johnson was a huge wrestling star in his own right after starting his career back in the 1960s, and even earned a place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Rocky - real name Wayde Douglas Bowles - became a top contender in the National Wrestling Alliance where he won plenty of championships.
After retiring in 1991, he went on to train his son Dwayne Johnson to follow in his footsteps and he adopted ‘The Rock’ name.
The Rock has since gone on to have a huge WWE career before becoming a well-known actor in films such as Jumanji and the Fast and Furious franchise.
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Happy Father’s Day to this hardly ever smiling OG bad ass. Little boys by nature, look up to and idolize their old man. They want to be just like em, do whatever they do and are always looking for their approval. Funny thing is the day I stopped looking for that approval was the day I understood what it meant to be 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. #HappyFathersDay #KingStache #RockyJohnson
Following Wayde's death, a statement on the WWE website read: "WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky 'Soul Man' Johnson, a WWE Hall of Famer, former World Tag Team Champion, and father of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, has passed away at age 75.
"In 2008, Johnson achieved the highest honor in sports-entertainment when he was inducted by The Rock into the WWE Hall of Fame where he will be forever enshrined as one of sports-entertainment’s most influential performers.
"WWE extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans."
His cause of death has not yet been announced.
While The Rock is yet to speak out on his father’s tragic passing, fans have been quick to share their tributes on social media, with American wrestler Dana Brooke writing: "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!"
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.#RIPRockyJohnson pic.twitter.com/4agKbOzAry— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) January 15, 2020
GOODBYE BROTHER ROCKY JOHNSON. I LOVE YOU FOREVER YOU ARE MY FAMILY. GOD BLESS YOU pic.twitter.com/43yc60Yh2u— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) January 15, 2020
Former world champion Mick Foley also said: "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."
During his heyday, Rocky formed a team with Tony Atlas, known as “Soul Patrol”, and they became the first blag tag-team to win a world championship.