Nova Scotia-born wrestler Rocky (Soul Man) Johnson, father of movie star and wrestler Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, has died at the age of 75, according to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Born Wade Douglas Bowles, Johnson was originally from Amherst.
Johnson was a WWE Hall of Famer and former World Tag Team Champion, the WWE noted in its obituary.
He made his pro wrestling debut in southern Ontario before rising to fame in the National Wrestling Alliance in the mid-1960s.
He started in the WWE in 1983 with rivalries with the likes of Greg (The Hammer) Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis.
Eventually, he teamed with Tony Atlas as The Soul Patrol and the two men became the first black World Tag Team Champions in WWE history when they defeated The Wild Samoans on Dec. 10, 1983.
After Johnson retired from wrestling in 1991, he helped train his son, The Rock — a nickname that was partly in tribute to his father.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson has passed away. https://t.co/9uxrICJKxb
Rocky Johnson, the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has passed away at the age of 75.
RIP to a legend 🙏 pic.twitter.com/NkGJhbIsh3
The younger Johnson went on to become the first-ever black WWE champion and then transitioned into a successful career as an actor.
Rocky Johnson was inducted by his son into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 2019, Rocky Johnson published a memoir called Soulman.