Sylvester Stallone is paying tribute to his late Rocky co-star Carl Weathers, who died at the age of 76, on Thursday, February 1. The 77-year-old action movie star released a new statement, grieving the loss of the Mandalorian alum. Sly took to his Instagram with a 60 second video clip to address his fans directly with his reaction.
“Today is an incredibly sad day for me,” he said in the emotional clip. “I mean, I’m so torn up I can’t even tell you. I’m just trying to hold it in because 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. He was absolutely brilliant. His voice, his size, his power, his athletic ability, but more importantly, his heart, his soul. It’s a horrible loss. He was magic, and I was so fortunate to be part of his life,” he finished the poignant video. “So, Apollo, keep punching.”
He also added a heartfelt caption. “We lost a legend yesterday,” he wrote. “My life was forever changed for the better the day I met Carl Weathers. Rest in power and keeping punching.”
Sylvester and Carl co-starred together in the first four Rocky franchise movies. The first film saw Weathers’ character, Apollo Creed, spar with Stallone’s Rocky Balboa to a record-breaking tie. In the second flick, they fought again, but the third movie explored their budding friendship when Apollo helped Rocky get back into shape for a new fight. Weathers’ character was killed off by the fifth film.
The franchise later went on to continue with the spinoff Creed films, with Michael B. Jordan playing Apollo’s son, Adonis “Donnie” Creed, and Rocky trains him for a fight.
Stallone and Weathers’ developed their work relationship throughout the 1970s. Since then, the two actors have spoken about each other over the years. The Rambo star previously told Deadline how “blessed” he felt to have met Carl when he auditioned for the role of Apollo.
“I was so blessed the day I met Carl, who is not just a fantastic actor, but a world-class athlete who did things that normal actors and human beings can’t do,” he told the outlet in 2016 while opening up about Creed. “The fact that this is a movie called Creed, and it’s 40 years after Rocky, well it shows the impact that Carl Weathers had with Apollo Creed. I hadn’t seen that in the ring before. Dolph Lundgren was a good athlete besides being a Fulbright Scholar, and Mister T was a good athlete, but nothing quite like Carl.”
Previously, though, Stallone claimed that Weathers was supposed to have a cameo in his sequel film Rocky Balboa, but the idea didn’t pan out because of a pay disagreement.
“Apollo Creed is not in Rocky Balboa because he wanted many thousands of dollars for a two second piece of he and Rocky boxing,” Stallone said during a 2006 interview. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford it. Whatever happened to loyalty? Apollo Greed?”
Nevertheless, Weathers and Stallone had a comical reunion at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards while acting as presenters. At the time, Weathers noted, “I can’t believe it’s been 40 years since Rocky,” while Stallone quipped, “Yeah, and I can’t believe I let you win the fight considering I wrote the screenplay.”