Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone and his family were left reeling after the untimely death of Stallone’s eldest son, Sage Moonblood Stallone, in 2012. He was just 36 years old. The actor has since reflected that there is “no greater pain” than when a parent loses a child.
“I am imploring people to respect my wonderfully talented son’s memory and feel compassion for his loving mother, Sasha,” Stallone, 73, wrote in a statement to CNN on the occasion of Sage’s passing, “because this agonizing loss will be felt for the rest of our lives.”
Sage was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment next to his housekeeper on July 13, 2012. The housekeeper had been asked by Stallone’s mother to make a house call after Sage’s lawyer, George Braunstein, failed to get in contact with his client. In the wake of his son’s passing, Stallone pleaded with the news media to cease speculating over Sage’s cause of death.
“Sage was our first child and the center of our universe,” Stallone wrote in his statement to CNN, “and I am humbly begging for all to have my son’s memory and soul left in peace.”
The police that arrived at Sage’s abode on July 13, 2012, reported no signs of foul play or forced entry to the apartment. The coroner eventually concluded that the cause of death was atherosclerosis, a sometimes-fatal degenerative heart condition, which tragically brought on a heart attack.
Braunstein told People that Sage had been “full of life” and was a “wonderful, loving person.”
“The last time I talked to him a few days ago he was saying he was getting married,” Braunstein continued, “he had a lot of things he was working on and seemed very enthusiastic. There was no indication there was any problem.”
Sage was born on May 5, 1976, to Stallone and his ex-wife Sasha Czack; the couple also share another son, Seargeoh, 41. As a teen, budding actor Sage appeared alongside his father in “Rocky V” and later “Daylight” in 1996.
Sage was also a filmmaker and very invested in the industry. As an adult he co-founded a passion project named Grindhouse Releasing, “dedicated to the restoration and preservation of motion pictures historically held in very low regard,” as the company describes.
Stallone spoke of his son’s lasting impact upon his own acting career while accepting the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in the film “Creed” in January 2016. In the movie, Stallone’s character, Rocky Balboa, develops a bond with the son of his former opponent; the star intimated that he had drawn inspiration from his relationship with Sage.
“To be frank, any time you can vent emotions that are real, I think it’s very, very helpful,” said the actor, as per Variety. “Most importantly I wanted to respect [Sage’s] memory, and I think we did.”
“Family is everything,” Stallone said later that same night, when interviewed on the red carpet.
Since 1997, Stallone has been married to the American model and business owner Jennifer Flavin. The couple share three daughters: Sophia, 23, Sistine, 21, and Scarlet, 17. All three sisters followed their father into the glitz and glamor of Hollywood by being chosen for the joint role of Miss Golden Globe at the 2017 awards ceremony, the year following their father’s win.
The Stallone sisters are close with their father. “[It] was emotionally overwhelming,” Sistine told The Hollywood Reporter, recalling watching Stallone receive his award. “It’s such an indescribable moment to see such a well-deserved accomplishment finally come to him.”