Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson posted a heartbreaking tribute to his late father on Jan. 17. The actor took to Instagram to say all of things he didn't get a chance to before his father was "ripped away from me so fast without warning."
"I love you," said Johnson in a caption to decades old footage of his dad, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, in the WWE ring with a very young Johnson in the stands. "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 deep complex 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.#ripsoulman #rockyjohnson"
Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson started wrestling in Toronto in 1964, eventually joining the WWE in 1983. He found great success when he teamed up with Tony Atlas as the Soul Patrol, and the two became the first African American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history later that year. Johnson retired from the ring in 1991 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his son in 2008. Rocky Johnson passed away Jan 15. at the age of 75.