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Rocky 'Soulman' Johnson The Rock's Dad ... WWE Superstar Dead at 75

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Rocky Johnson, a WWE pioneer and father of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has died according to the WWE.

Johnson, who was living in the Tampa Bay area, passed away Wednesday. Rocky "Soulman" Johnson -- started out in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1960s, but got widespread notoriety when he joined the WWE in the 80s. He and Tony Atlas became the league's first African-American tag team champions as The Soul Patrol.

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Some of his biggest rivals were Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis. Rocky retired back in 1991 and he was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.

Obviously, his son followed in his footsteps. It is widely known that Dwayne adopted his dad's name for his own wrestling moniker ... and certainly carried on the torch lit by his pop.

They remained close -- The Rock even gifted his father a brand new car and a house for Christmas. Last year he published his autobiography -- "Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story" -- and his son wrote the foreword.

Rocky was 75. RIP

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