Sylvester Stallone is opening up about the sudden death of his son Sage in the new Netflix documentary, Sly. The action star’s oldest son tragically passed away in 2012 at just 36 due to coronary artery disease.
Sage portrayed the character of Robert, Rocky Balboa’s son, in the 1990 film Rocky V alongside Stallone. In the movie, Robert felt neglected as his father trained a young boxing prospect (real-life boxer Tommy Morrison). Stallone himself acknowledged in his documentary how this storyline resonated with his relationship with his late son. As noted by the New York Post, this parallel added a poignant layer to the film’s narrative.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Stallone admits in Sly when asked about Sage’s role in Rocky V. “I try to take something that actually is what I wish I had done in real life, but I wasn’t able to do that in reality. And so quite often I would do it theatrically, magically . . . A lot of that is true,” Stallone explained. “Unfortunately, you put things before your family. And the repercussions are quite radical and devastating.”
Sylvester Stallone Echoed Rocky’s Thoughts on Fatherhood
Of course, by the end of the film Robert and Rocky have patched things up. In addition to the contemporary scenes, the documentary includes footage from a 1990 premiere event of Rocky V. The footage shows Sylvester Stallone standing next to Sage, interviewed on the red carpet. “There’s a line in the movie, ‘I’m so glad he’s born because now I can live through your eyes.’ That, I think, is what fathers look to their children for,” Stallone explained. “It’s an extension of, a slice of immortality. As long as he’s alive, your memory will always be alive, that you did something right. I mean, you hope for that.”
In 2022, Sage was discovered dead in his apartment. At first, the cause of death was believed to be a pill overdose, but it was later established that it resulted from atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats and plaque in the arteries, a leading cause of coronary artery disease. Sage had no drugs in his system except for a small amount of Vicodin.
Stallone has three daughters, Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet, with his wife Jennifer Flavin. They recently starred together in the reality show, The Family Stallone, earlier this year. He shared Sage with his ex, Sasha Czack. Stallone and Czack also have a son named Seargeoh, who is now 44 years old.
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