Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s father passed away on January 15 at the age of 75. Now, the movie star and former wrestler is letting the public know just how much he meant to him.
During Rocky Johnson’s funeral last month, his son delivered an emotional and powerful eulogy. Taking to Instagram on Friday (February 7), The Rock shared the video of his tribute to his father.
“Man, I wish I had … I wish I had one more shot,” Dwayne began. “I wish I had one more shot to say goodbye … to say I love you, to say thank you, but I have a feeling he’s watching. He’s listening.”
He thanked everyone for attending the funeral before revealing a revelation he received while learning of Rocky’s passing.
“I was on my way to work, the other day on January 15 and I was just pulling into work and we were shooting that day and it was the very first day of production,” he said, before learning that “something’s going on with your dad.”
He continued: “Lauren was with our babies, she was with my mom and she said, ‘You know, I really can’t talk… I think you should call Cora though’, so of course I called Cora. I’m literally just pulling in and I’m looking at the whole crew, hundreds of guys and women milling around, carrying equipment and waving at me in the truck, and I’m waving back and it all got really foggy and it seemed like it was a big dream.”
Johnson then shared the shock and disbelief that hit him when learning his father had passed.
“You know how you have those moments where you try and shake yourself out of it, and you’re like ‘No, it’s not a dream. … My dad’s gone,’” he said. “In that moment, I just thought ‘Well, what do I need to do? What’s the next thing that I need to do?’”
He continued: “And I heard a voice say, ‘Well, hey, the show must go on,’ and that was my dad. That was my old man who told me that.”
The Rock described his dad as a “trailblazer” in the wrestling community.
“The other side to it that I wanted to point out that I thought was important to say is that when somebody is a trailblazer that means that they actually, they have the ability to change behavior and audience’s behavior, people’s behavior,” he said. “And for my dad, when he broke into the business in the mid ’60s and throughout the late ’60s and into the ’70s in the United States where racial tension and divide was very strong. In the ’60s and the ’70s, you have a Black man coming in, it’s an all-white audience and all these small little towns that eventually I would go on to wrestle in — but at that time he changed the audience’s behavior and actually had them cheer for this Black man.”
He continued: “And not when he was wrestling against other Black men, ’cause he was usually the only Black guy in the territory, he was wrestling against other white wrestlers. I thought that was really unique, and I thought that was really powerful, and I thought that it deserved to be said. And that’s what this man did. When you think of my dad’s name, you think ‘hard work.' You think ‘barrier-breaking,’ you think being the hardest worker in the room, always working out. He taught me how to work out at a very young age. Hard work, discipline — those are things and tenants that are synonymous with my dad’s name.”
In concluding his speech, Dwayne Johnson grappled with how and what Rocky’s death will mean to him moving forward and how it’s a reminder to appreciate your loved ones who are still around and recognize how special they are.
“What’s amazing to me now, after a day like today after we come here and we give our respect and our love, he’s galvanized, he’s responsible for galvanizing families now. Because through processes like this, we’ve all lost loved ones, but guaranteed when we walk out of these doors, we’re going to hold each other a bit tighter, we’re going to hug each other a bit harder, we’re going to kiss each other and we’re going to say, ‘I love you,’ and we’re going to be a bit more present,” he said. “I wish your soul at rest and at ease.”
Rocky Johnson reportedly passed away at age 75 due to a heart attack. Shortly after his death, Dwayne Johnson thanked everyone for their kind words and tributes to the wrestling great and posted a throwback video on Instagram of his father during his championship wrestling days.
Our condolences are with Dwayne Johnson, his family and friends during this most difficult time.
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You trail blazed and even harder, you changed people’s harsh behaviors toward a man of color. Paving the way for me, my family and generations to come. You loved us with the capacity of which you could - given all the givens. Raised me with an iron hand and a tough complicated love. A love that now, as a father and man, I’ve learned to refine as I raise my own children. I wish I had one more shot. To say one more thing. You were taken too fast. Slipped right thru my hands. But you were so loved, lived so full, defined culture and now you rest high. Peacefully. And that makes my heart smile. I love you and now I have an angel to call by name. I’ll see you down the road, Soulman. Til we meet again. Your son 🥃🖤
Photo: Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/FilmMagic