Tragedy struck Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his family as news circulated on Wednesday that his father, Rocky Johnson, had passed away at the age of 75. The cause of his death remains unknown. The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star took to Instagram to make his first public comments following his father's death.
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"I love you," he began the post. "You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world."
"I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love," he added. "The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man."
Johnson adds it was then that his "adoration turned to respect," and his "empathy turned to gratitude."
"Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life's invaluable lessons," he continued. "Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back,. I'm in pain. But we both know it's just pain and it'll pass. Now I'll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it's time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish."
He concluded his message by sharing how he wants his father, Rocky to "rest" his trailblazing soul. "Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I'll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high," he wrote.
The elder Johnson paved the way for his son in the world of WWE. In his heyday, he earned the National Wrestling Alliance Georgia Champion and NWA Southern Heavyweight Memphis Champion. Eventually, he, along with his partner Tony Atlas, became the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team Championship in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
He premiered in the WWF in 1983 after first getting involved in the NWA during the mid 1960s.
"WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky 'Soul Man' Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles), a WWE Hall of Famer and former World Tag Team Champion, has passed away at age 75," the league said in a statement Wednesday.
His son would go on to become one of the most iconic wrestlers of all-time under the persona of "The Rock." He won the WWF Championship in 1998 and would go on to have 17 championship belts with 10 of them being as the world heavyweight champion.
The news sent shockwaves across the industry as many sent their thoughts and prayers towards his family. Among those were Mick Foley, who put out a tweet sending his condolences on what he called a "very sad day for wrestling."0comments
His loss was even felt a larger scale as actors and other celebrities chimed in, including Duane "Dog" Chapman. He sent out a heartfelt tweet shortly after the news of his death came out. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to [The Rock] and his family and loved ones as his dad, WWE legend Rocky Johnson passed away today. we are thinking of you [The Rock]," the tweet read.
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