A new report has revealed additional information on WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson’s possible cause of death, days after it was reported that he had passed away at his Lutz, Florida, home on Wednesday at the age of 75.
Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times in a report published Friday, former WWE superstar Brian Blair — who was also one of the company’s top tag team specialists of the 1980s — said that Johnson died of natural causes, adding that the legendary grappler had a blood clot in his leg that traveled to one of his lungs. As Blair further recalled, Johnson visited the doctor one day before his passing after initially being reluctant to seek medical assistance for what was initially believed to be a case of the flu.
“Every Sunday we’d go together to church,” he added. “But he hadn’t been able to make it the past two weeks.”
Blair’s remarks about Johnson failing to attend church in the lead-up to his death are consistent with the comments he made to the Associated Press via phone on Wednesday. At that time, the former Killer Bees standout did not specify the nature of his longtime friend’s illness, though he did go into detail about some of the final conversations he had with the Hall of Famer prior to his passing.
“He was just under the weather, he thought he had the flu or something. I said, ‘You, need to get checked out, Rocky.’ He said he’d be OK. Then he missed this Sunday, a few days ago. When I talked to him again, he said he still wasn’t feeling good and he still missed church. He still didn’t get checked out. I talked to [Johnson’s wife] Sheila and she said he was just being stubborn. He died at home, today.”
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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 ????
Although longtime fans may remember him for joining forces with fellow WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas to become the promotion’s first-ever African American tag team champions in 1983, Johnson was arguably best known as the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who went on to enjoy great success as an eight-time WWE Champion and Hollywood megastar. On Friday, the Hobbs & Shaw star took to Instagram to eulogize his father, also looking back on his many achievements in the ring and mentioning at one point that the news of his death came “without warning.”
At the time of writing, Rocky Johnson’s official cause of death has yet to be announced by county officials. According to Blair, funeral services for the late wrestler will be held in private.