Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has broken his silence following the death of his father, WWE hall of fame wrestler Rocky Johnson.
The Hollywood star and retired professional wrestler, 47, shared an emotional message to his 168 million Instagram followers.
He said his father’s death at 75 had left him “in pain”, but he promised to carry his father’s “mana and work ethic” with him always.
Rocky, known as “Soul Man”, was a trailblazer in the ring and was the first African-American WWE tag team champion.
His son hailed him for breaking “colour barriers” in the industry and for teaching him to “always be proud of our cultures”.
He ended his message with a goat emoji, indicated that his father had been the “greatest of all time”.
Dwayne also shared a video of his father fighting in the ring, while he watched on from the stands as a young man.
His message said: “I love you. You broke colour 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.”
Johnson continued: “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.”
Rocky retired in 1991, and his son Dwayne continued his wrestling legacy before becoming a major Hollywood star.
Dwayne inducted his father into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2008.
Announcing his death earlier this week, the WWE said in a statement it “extends its condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and fans”.
No cause of death was given.
Johnson, born in Nova Scotia, Canada, began his wrestling career in the mid-1960s, but found wider fame when joining the WWE in 1983.
He was known for his rivalries with the likes of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis, and enjoyed success when he teamed up with Tony Atlas as The Soul Patrol.
The two men became the first African-American World Tag Team Champions in WWE history when they defeated The Wild Samoans in December 1983.