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    Thursday, January 16, 2020

    The Rock’s Dad, Rocky Johnson Dies at 75

    Rocky Johnson, left, pictured with his son Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson ( MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock )
    Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson, a longtime WWE star and father of the famous Nollywood star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has died. He died on Wednesday, the WWE announced in a tweet. He was 75.

    “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”, it said in its Twitter obituary notice.

    Johnson, born Wayde Douglas Bowles, made his fighting debut in 1966 and competed in the National Wrestling Alliance throughout the 1970s while earning multiple regional singles and tag team titles.

    (One of WWE tweets on Wednesday night:

    He joined the WWE in 1983, and won the World Tag Team Championship alongside Tony Atlas after beating The Wild Samoans that same year — which made them the first African Americans to win the title in the sport. He had several notable rivalries with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis, too.

    Johnson officially retired in 1991. He has helped train several notable fighters since, however, including his son Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — who competed in the WWE before his massive acting career took off.

    Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his son in 2008.

    Mick Foley, whose ring identities include 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."

    Booker T Huffman, whose ring name is Booker T, said: "One of the men I looked up to and one of the best to ever do it. God rest his soul."

    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."

    And Dana Brooke said: "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!"
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