In an almost 8-minute video posted to his Instagram, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson told his 169.2 million followers to “go hug your loved ones hard, while you still can.”
The video comes just days after the wrestler-turned-movie star lost his father, Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson unexpectedly. Rocky was a Hall of Fame WWE wrestler, shooting to stardom when he teamed up with Tony Atlas as “The Soul Patrol.” Tony and Rocky became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history in 1983.
We changed wrestling by paving a new path,knocking down doors while showing what movin' n groovin' is all about!It takes two and I never would've done it without you. It showed me alot while learning more . I pray for @TheRock and his family ,I'm so sorry for your loss. pic.twitter.com/r5g9YMi3S3
— Tony Atlas (@RealAtlas) January 16, 2020
On January 17, Dwayne shared a vintage video of Rocky being introduced during a fight. The camera then cut to a certain spectator in the crowd, his young son Dwayne. In the caption, Dwayne wrote an emotional note to his father, who he says was ”ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back.”
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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 ?
On Sunday, January 20, Dwayne explained what actually took his father’s life in a lengthy video on Instagram. He began by thanking his fans for the condolences and well wishes he and his family have received in the last few days.
“As you know, I lost my old man a few days ago,” he said. “I lost him just like that. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him. I would give anything right now to give him a big, ol’ hug and a big, ol’ kiss before he crossed over just to say, ‘Thank you, and I love you, and I respect you,’ but I didn’t get a chance to say that, but such is life, as many of you know.”
Dwayne said he had received lots of questions about how his father passed away and he was finally ready to talk about it.
“He had not been feeling well, He’d been battling a cold and infection and on Tuesday he had what’s called a deep vein thrombosis, which is essentially a blood clot in the leg. It was a big old blood clot that broke free, traveled up his body and went right to his lung, clotted his lung and he died very quickly from a massive heart attack,” he said.
Dwayne continued, “He went fast, he went quick. That’s my old man. He was always quick. That did give me great comfort because it wasn’t prolonged.”
He also told his fans to reach out to people they love.
He said, “Text them, call them, go see them if they’re close by. And I want you to hug them. Tell them these are the marching orders from Dwayne Johnson who just lost his old man. But you hug them and hug them hard. That’s what I’m doing with my family and my friends and the ones I love. I’m hugging them hard because you never know what’s around the corner.”
Watch his video below.