Dwayne Johnson Opens Up About His Dad's "Quick" Death and Thanks Fans for Support

Dwayne Johnson's father, fellow wrestling star, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, died at age 75 last week.

By Corinne Heller Jan 19, 2020 10:15 PMTags
Dwayne Johnson, Rocky JohnsonRichard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Actor and wrestling star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson paid tribute again on Sunday to his late father, WWE Hall of Famer Wayde Douglas Bowles, and revealed his cause of death.

His dad, known in the wrestling world as Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, died at age 75 on Wednesday.

"He had not been feeling well and had been battling a cold, an infection. On Tuesday, he had what's called deep vein thrombosis, which is essentially a blood clot in the leg," Johnson said in an Instagram video. "It broke free, traveled up his body and went right to his lung and clotted his lung and he died very quickly from a massive heart attack, just like that."

Johnson said he asked the medical examiner who performed the autopsy if his father was in pain when he died, and if he passed away quickly.

"He said he went fast, he went quick. That's my old man, he was always quick," the actor said, laughing, "But that did give me great comfort in knowing that it wasn't prolonged."


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"He had been in lot of pain for a very long time and that's the life of a pro wrestler," he added. "He always told me, 'A day without pain is like a day without sunshine.' He would tell me that when I was 10. That's a lot of years of being in pain."

Johnson lamented not being able to say goodbye to his dad.

"I'd give anything right now to give him a big ol' hug and a big ol' kiss before he crossed over, and just say thank you, I love you, I respect you," he said.

Johnson thanked his fans for their messages of support over the past few days.

"Uf you guys out there have parents around, your mom, your dad, your wife, your husband, your babies, your children, your best friends, your grandparents—text them, call them, go see them," said the actor, a married father of three daughters. "If they're close by and if you can hug them, I want you to hug them. You tell them that these are the marching orders from Dwayne Johnson, who just lost his old man."

"Hug them hard because you never know what's around the corner," he said.

After news of Johnson's dad's death was made public last week, the actor paid tribute to him on Instagram, writing, "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."

Rocky and wrestler Tony Atlas made up The Soul Patrol and they became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history when they defeated The Wild Samoans in 1983.

Johnson said on Sunday that his dad will be laid to rest on Tuesday. The actor said he is writing a eulogy. He said that first, he's "gonna go to this gym and I'm gonna crush my leg workout in honor of him," adding, "And it's appropriate; he taught me how to work out."

"I've written a lot of speeches for myself over the years but I have no idea where to start with this one," he said about his eulogy. "But I do have my tequila and I can hear him now, 'Good that's the way you gotta do it,' and I can also hear him now 'Make sure you put me over in the speech, say good stuff about me.' He would say, 'You tell them I taught you everything you know, but I didn't teach you everything I know.' That's right, Dad. That's why you will always be better than me, and I love it."

Watch: Dwayne Johnson Jokingly Says He's "Cursed" With 3 Girls