The Hollywood star temporarily withdrew from the movie industry and canceled all his public appearances to cope with the death of his son.
They say there's nothing more heartbreaking than your children passing away and it's something that nearly broke Sylvester Stallone. The Rocky actor lost his son, Sage Stallone when the latter was just 36 years old. After losing his son, Stallone said there was no greater pain than losing a child. Stallone has five children including Sage, who was the elder son and first child of actor Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack, the actor's first wife. Sage Stallone was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment by the housekeeper. Sage's mother, Czack, sent the housekeeper to check on him after his lawyer and friend, George Braunstein, alerted her that he was unable to reach him on the phone.
Media speculation at the time suggested he had died of drug abuse. "When a parent loses a child there is no greater pain. 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," said Stallone, according to Metro. Sage had a fractured relationship with his father following the latter's divorce with Sasha Czack, but he reached out and reconciled with his son. Sage Stallone had shared screen space with his father in Rocky V, as Robert Balboa Jr. He also made an appearance with his father in Daylight, in 1996. Sage Stallone grew up to become an actor, director, and producer but his career was cut short by a cruel twist of fate.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, which completed Sage's autopsy, suggested it would take up to six weeks for toxicology tests, sparking rumors of drug abuse. However, the coroner later confirmed that he had died of a heart attack and not drugs. Sage Stallone had died of atherosclerosis, which induced a heart attack, confirmed a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner, reported CNN at the time. Braunstein also dismissed claims that Sage was depressed and had died from drug abuse. "He was very creative, energetic, and very full of life. We were just joking about how he was going to get married and have a fun marriage. There was nothing dark or depressing, no problems, certainly no financial problems," said Braunstein.
Sylvester Stallone took time off his acting career and canceled all his public appearances to cope with the death of his son. He then said it was imperative that he get back to living his life, for the fear of drowning in sorrow. “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 Stallone. “It’s important to get back and try to start reliving your life, otherwise you can go into a spiral.”
After winning a Golden Globe for Creed, the actor paid tribute to his son. When asked if his son's death had affected his work, he replied, "Any time you can do things that are real, I think it’s very, very helpful, and with my son, I want to respect his memory, and I think we did so," reported People. He also touched upon the importance of family. "I realized family is everything, and that’s the greatest award that you get, because in the end, when you’re on your deathbed, you’re going to basically be judged on how you raised your kids and what you left behind, so finally they get to understand that they have a caring father, that movies are wonderful, but they pale in comparison to the movie of life, which is making them go on into the future and be very, very successful. That’s my duty, that’s my mission," he said.