WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson passed away this week at the age of 75. He left behind a legacy that meant so much to so many, including his son Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The Rock has commented publicly for the first time since his father's passing.
The Rock posted this touching message to his father on Instagram:
"I love you. 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. 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. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.
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. Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. 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."
Rocky Johnson helped pave the way for future African American wrestlers. His career began in the 1960s when he joined up with the NWA. He won multiple Heavyweight and Tag Championships before making his way to the WWE in the 1980s.
He would team up with fellow Hall of Famer Tony Atlas to form 'The Soul Patrol'. The pair would later defeat the Wild Samoans for the Tag Team Championships, becoming the first African American Tag Champions is company history.
Johnson went into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, being inducted by his son.