Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's dad, Rocky, dead at 75

His dad was also a wrestler, who retired from the ring in 1991.
Image: Ata Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Rocky Johnson
Dwayne Johnson and his parents, Ata and Rocky pose for a photo at Dwayne's Hands and Footprints Ceremony held at TCL Chinese Theatre in 2015.Eric Charbonneau / Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP

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/ Source: TODAY
By Samantha Kubota

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s dad — Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson — has died at 75.

Rocky Johnson — whose real name was Wayde Bowles — was also a former professional wrestler. World Wrestling Entertainment announced his passing in a statement, and his manager confirmed his death to NBC News, but didn’t share a cause of death.

Dwayne Johnson’s representation didn’t immediately respond to NBC’s request for comment.

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Rocky Johnson started wrestling back in the mid-1960s, and eventually he joined WWE in 1983. In their statement, WWE said Rocky Johnson was “wildly charismatic.”

"The 'Soul Man' retired from the ring in 1991, but his imprint continued to be felt on WWE for years to come," WWE said in its statement. "Post-retirement, Johnson had a hand in training his son, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson."

The Rock even went on to induct his dad into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dwayne Johnson has posted on social media several times about his father and the “tough love” he raised him with making him who he is today. In March, he shared a story about his dad’s upbringing, writing Rocky Johnson had been thrown out of his mother’s house on Christmas Day at the age of 13 and forced to live on the streets.

“…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 a-- in the gyms and on wrestling mats,” The Rock wrote. “I hated it then as a little boy, but grateful for it today as a man.”

He said in the video he was able to tell his dad he was buying him a “brand new home” wherever the elder Johnson wanted to live. That announcement moved his father.

“My dad’s an old school tough guy,” Dwayne Johnson said. “He said ‘Well… no one ever called to tell me they’re 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.”

“I never heard my dad talk like that and it felt good to me and it felt good to my heart,” he added. “Love you, pop.”