Tributes pour in for Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's father Rocky Johnson after death aged 75
This week, tributes to wrestler Rocky Johnson (father of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) have poured in from fans and friends alike on social media.
The acclaimed wrestler, who was the first African-American WWE tag team champion, passed away on the evening of Wednesday, January 15, at the age of 75. The cause of death has not been made public yet, but he died at his home in Lutz, Florida.
Johnson, born Wayde Douglas Bowles on August 24, 1944, was brought up in Nova Scotia, before making a career for himself as a bodybuilder and wrestler in 1964.
He was a top contender in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1970s, receiving title matches against then-World Champions Terry Funk and Harley Race. He won several regional tag team championships in the NWA, before retiring from wrestling in 1991 - passing his legacy onto his son Dwayne.
Watch this adorable video of The Rock talking to Rocky's grandaughter:
Now figures from the wrestling industry have paid tribute to the great man, as well as fans of his on social media. For example, Mick Foley (aka: Mankind and Dude Love) 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."
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy, who wrestled with 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."
Rocky obviously meant a lot to his son Dwayne. In an emotional Father's Day post, The Rock took to Instagram to share a picture of himself and his father, writing: "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. [sic]"
He continued: "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."
He added: "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."