HOUSTON – Legendary Houston boot maker Rocky Carroll has died at the age of 79.
Carroll’s son, Michael Carroll, confirmed Rocky's death on Wednesday to KPRC 2.
Carroll is known for his footwear that has been worn by U.S. presidents, including Houston’s George H. W. Bush, as well as athletes like Peyton Manning and A-list celebrities.
Rocky went to his shop as always on Wednesday, and worker noticed he'd been drifting off during the day. Michael Carroll said he began to get concerned around 2:30 and called an ambulance, but by the time it had arrived, his father had died.
Michael Carroll said his father had no serious health problems and that his death came as a surprise.
The man, dubbed BOTUS, fashioned boots for several U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. A report said he even planned to make a pair for President Donald Trump.
In addition to presidents, Michael Carroll shared a list of notable people who had a pair of his famous boots: Vladimir Putin, Elizabeth Taylor, Willie Nelson, Princess Diana, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Texas governors including John Connally, Ann Richards and Rick Perry, Johnny Cash, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Susan Anton, A.J. Foyt, Chuck Norris, George Jones, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Reba McEntire, Lee Greenwood, The Judds, Jack Nicholson, Larry Hagman, and Pope John Paul II.
Michael Carroll said his father grew up poor and "pushed it really hard" and instilled in him that to be successful, you have to work hard.
"(He was) always handing out business cards," Michael Carroll said. "(He) never met a stranger, and always wanted to help in every charity he could. He was a loving caring man who loved giving back and helping the less fortunate. It wasn’t about all the hobnobbing with all the presidents and all because he remembered when he was a child that he wanted to give back."
"Everywhere he went he always ran into people he knew. And if he didn’t (know you), but the time they were done, they were best friends."
President George H.W. Bush released a statement Friday about Rocky via his spokesperson: “Barbara and I join Rocky’s family and many friends in mourning his passing. He was not only the best boot maker in the world — Rocky was also a great friend and a good man. That rare combination of talent and character is why people all over the world wanted to wear his boots, which so many of us proudly do. We miss him already."
Ted Poe shared a touching tribute today to the footwear legend.