WWE issued the following statement on the passing of Rock Johnson:
WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson passes away
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.
Johnson’s sports-entertainment career began in the mid-1960s when he made a memorable impression in the National Wrestling Alliance. However, Johnson would go on to find his highest levels of success when he began his WWE tenure in 1983.
Following his debut in 1983, Johnson had several memorable rivalries with the likes of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis. However, alongside Tony Atlas, Johnson is best remembered for being the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history as a member of The Soul Patrol.
The “Soul Man” retired from the ring in 1991, but his imprint would continue to be felt on WWE for years to come. Post-retirement, Johnson would go on to have a hand in training his son, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Rock would become one of the biggest stars in the history of sports-entertainment and carried on Johnson’s name with pride.
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.