No matter what they achieve in life, parents always consider their kids the biggest treasure. Even for actor Sylvester Stallone, his children are everything, especially his late son Sage Moonblood Stallone. The two shared a tumultuous relationship owning to differences about his career and life decisions but it was all out of genuine concern that the Rocky star had for him. So when he learned that his firstborn was no longer in the world, Stallone was inconsolable. He reportedly remained disconnected from the rest of the world to cope with the overwhelming grief.
On July 13, 2012, 36-year-old Sage was found dead in his Studio City, Los Angeles home. At the time bottles of prescription pills were recovered from his home and a toxicology report showed that Sage only had a small amount of sedative hydrocodone in his system. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled the death natural stating that the 36-year-old died due to a condition that causes blocked arteries, a heart attack, reports BBC. He was the eldest son of Stallone and his first wife and actress Sasha Czack.
Understandably, his parents were left “devastated and grief-stricken” when the news of his demise broke out and the Rocky star released a statement, according to Metro, that read, “When a parent loses a child there is no greater pain. Therefore I am imploring people to respect my talented son’s memory and feel compassion for his loving mother Sasha. This agonizing loss will be felt for the rest of our lives. Sage was our first child and the center of our universe and I am humbly begging for all to have my son’s memory and soul left in peace.”
Despite the differences, Stallone and Sage somehow managed to find a way back to each other always. Wen the Rambo actor divorced Sasha amid rumors of his affair, it probably strained their relationship all the more. But years later, they managed to rekindle their relationship as the young man starred in the movie Rocky V as father and son and their on-screen chemistry was undeniable. Per PEOPLE, Sage admitted that some of the scenes in the movie were so close to his real-life that they did not require any acting whatsoever.
“When I was screaming: ‘You never spent time with me! You never spent time with my mother!’ that was true. I was looking into my father’s face and really saying that,” said Sage. He continued, “I got a lot of things out. We broke into tears a few times. After the film, everything changed. We’d do anything for each other,” he shared. “The love–hate would go back and forth all the time,” recalled a longtime friend and fellow actor Stephen Wozniak. “[Sage] would say, ‘I loved that rare ending in Nighthawks that my dad was really sticking up for.’ And then a few minutes later he would look in a magazine and say, ‘Look at these tribal tattoos that my dad is getting at age 66. What is he doing?'”
The 36-year-old was quite unhappy when he found out that his father had cast Milo Ventimiglia in Rocky Balboa instead of him. But he did love it a lot. “He was close to both of his parents and looked up to them,” said his attorney and longtime friend George Braunstein. “It was a picture of Sage at 14 standing next to his dad. He idolized his father.” His death left a gaping hole in his father’s heart. At that point, the arguments with his son may have seemed meaningless for Stallone.
“It’s very, very tough. It’s a horrible situation, but time hopefully will heal, and you try to get through it, but it’s just something that’s a reality of life,” said the grieving dad, per Hollywood Reporter. In 2016, he paid tribute to Sage after winning the Golden Globe for Creed, according to Daily Mail. “I want to respect his memory, and I think we did so,” he said at the time.
Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer (L) IMDb (R)