Rocky Johnson, who was a huge wrestling star in his own right and earned a place in the WWE Hall of Fame, passed away at the age of 75.
His cause of death is currently unknown.
Johnson, born Wayde Douglas Bowles, began his career in the 1960s and after a stint in the World Wide Wrestling Federation became a top contender in the National Wrestling Alliance. There, he won numerous regional championships and tag-team championships.
With partner Tony Atlas, Johnson was part of the first blag tag-team to win a worlds championship in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE).
A statement on the WWE website read: “WWE is saddened to learn that Rocky ‘Soul Man’ Johnson, a WWE Hall of Famer, former World Tag Team Champion, and father of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, has passed away at age 75.
“In 2008, Johnson achieved the highest honor in sports-entertainment when he was inducted by The Rock into the WWE Hall of Fame where he will be forever enshrined as one of sports-entertainment’s most influential performers.
“WWE extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans.”
After retiring in 1991, Johnson trained his son Dwayne to wrestle.
At the start of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s career, Johnson would appear alongside his son and help him in matches.
The pair are part of the famed Samoan Anoa’i family tree, which has produced dozens of wrestlers – including Roman Reigns, Yokozuna, Rikishi and The Usos – through the years.
Tributes have poured in from the world of wrestling after Rocky’s passing.
Former world champion Mick Foley wrote: “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.”