Dwayne Johnson said in a video Sunday that his father, former wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, died of a blood clot in his leg that caused a heart attack.
The Rock posted a lengthy video to Instagram thanking his followers for their support in his time of grief and shared some additional memories of his father. But he clarified that Rocky Johnson had deep vein thrombosis — a blood clot in his leg that traveled to his lung, formed a clot and quickly killed him of a heart attack.
“A lot of you wanted to know what happened to my dad. He had not been feeling well. Been battling a cold, an infection. On Tuesday he had a deep vein thrombosis, which is essentially a blood clot in the leg, a big old blood clot. It broke free, traveled up his body and went right to his lung. It clotted his lung and he died very quickly from a massive heart attack,” Johnson said of his father. “According to the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, it was clear, very evident of what had happened.”
Johnson said he lost his father in a flash and didn’t get to say goodbye. But he said his father had been in pain for a long time, and he took solace in knowing that his father did not suffer or experience a long, drawn-out death.
“My question was, ‘Was he in pain? Did he go quick? Was it drawn out?’ He said, ‘He went fast. He went quick,’” Johnson said. “That’s my old man. He was always quick. But that did give me great comfort that it wasn’t prolonged.”
Johnson told his followers to be sure to text your loved ones and spend time with your family, and earlier on Monday he posted a photo showing that he had completed writing his father’s eulogy.
“I can also hear him now, ‘Make sure you put me over in the speech. Say good stuff about me,” Johnson said in his father’s voice. “He would say, ‘You tell them I taught you everything you know. But I didn’t teach you everything I know.”
Born Wayde Douglas Bowles in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1944, Rocky Johnson began his wrestling career at the age of 16 and became a top star in the National Wrestling Alliance in the 1970s. He won multiple regional NWA titles, traveling through the territorial system and wrestling against legends like Harley Race, Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler.
Johnson retired from wrestling in 1991 and trained his son to be a wrestler, at which point Dwayne Johnson took the name Rocky Maivia in his 1994 WWF debut.
See Johnson’s video message below: