Sylvester Stallone is paying tribute to Rocky costar Carl Weathers following his death.
“This is an incredibly sad day for me. I’m so so torn up I can’t even tell you,” Stallone, 77, shared in a Friday, February 2, Instagram video. “Carl Weathers was such an integral part of my life, my success, everything about it. I give him incredible credit and kudos because when he walked into that room and I saw him for the first time, I saw greatness but I didn’t realize how great. I never could have accomplished what we did with Rocky without him.”
Stallone called the late actor “brilliant” in his “voice, his size, his power, his athletic ability” but “most importantly in his heart and his soul.” Calling Weathers’ death a “horrible loss,” he pointed out the painting behind him which featured Stallone and Weathers during their final on-screen match as Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, respectively, during the 1976 film.
“It was probably the last moment we were ever in the ring together and I’ll never forget it,” he said of the famous scene. “He was magic and I was so fortunate to be part of his life. So, Apollo, keep punching.”
Alongside the heartfelt video, Stallone captioned the post, “We lost a legend yesterday. My life was forever changed for the better the day I met Carl Weathers. Rest in power and keep punching.”
Weathers’ family confirmed earlier on Friday that the Predator star had died at age 76.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” they wrote in a statement to Deadline. “He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024. Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.”
Weathers got his start in acting by scoring small roles in movies such as Bucktown and Friday Foster before landing his first major gig opposite Stallone in Rocky as Apollo Creed. He reprised the role in the next three installments of the franchise: Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV.
His career also included notable roles in films like Predator, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Death Hunt and The Comebacks. In 2021, he was nominated an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Disney+’s Star Wars series The Mandalorian. Weathers is survived by his ex-wife, Mary Ann Castle, and their two sons.