Rocky
Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson speaks at his WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2008 as son Dwayne looks on. Picture: WWE

‘I’m in pain’: The Rock’s heartache

DWAYNE "The Rock" Johnson has posted an emotional farewell to his father, who passed away earlier in the week.

WWE legend Rocky Johnson's death shocked the wrestling community and resulted in an outpouring of emotion from those within the industry.

Rocky started his professional career with the National Wrestling Alliance in 1964 and became a household name when he starred in the WWE in the 1980s.

Two days after news broke of the legend's passing, Dwayne posted his own heartfelt tribute to his "hero".

"I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world," Johnson posted alongside a video of his dad.

"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 deeply complicated 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."

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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 deeply complicated 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. Im 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. #ripsoulman #rockyjohnson 🐐

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Nicknamed "Soul Man", Rocky enjoyed rivalries with wrestlers such as Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis. But he became best known for his partnership with Tony Atlas when they paired up as The Soul Patrol.

The duo became the first ever African-American WWE tag team world champions by defeating The Wild Samoans in 1983.

Tony Atlas, left, and Rocky
Tony Atlas, left, and Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson pose in the ring.

Rocky retired in 1991 but made a cameo to help his son Dwayne overcome The Sultan and The Iron Sheik at WrestleMania 13 in 1997.

Rocky was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008 and the wrestling promotion said in a statement he would be "forever enshrined as one of sports-entertainment's most influential performers".

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