A former pro wrestler who was a WWE pioneer and the father of popular actor and wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has died. Rocky “Soulman” Johnson died Wednesday, according to media reports. He was 75.
Johnson, who had been living in the Tampa Bay area, was a WWE Hall of Famer and a former World Tag Team Champion.
TMZ reports that Johnson “started out in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1960s, but got widespread notoriety when he joined the WWE in the 80s. He and Tony Atlas became the league’s first African-American tag team champions as The Soul Patrol.
“Some of his biggest rivals were Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis.”
After retiring in 1991, Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Obviously, his son followed in his footsteps,” TMZ notes. “It is widely known that Dwayne adopted his dad’s name for his own wrestling moniker … and certainly carried on the torch lit by his pop.”
Last year the elder Johnson published his autobiography, “Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story,” with a foreword by his son.