In his new Netflix documentary, Sly, the Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone opened up on the tragic death of his son, Sage. The actor’s eldest son passed away in 2012, aged 36, from coronary heart disease.
Sage was also an actor and appeared in 1990s Rocky V alongside his father as Rocky Balboa’s son, Robert. In the documentary, Stallone discussed how the on-screen father-son relationship was sadly not echoed in reality.
“Unfortunately, yes,” he sighed when asked if Rocky V drew inspiration from his real-life experiences as a father.
“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 added.
“Unfortunately, you put things before your family. And the repercussions are quite radical and devastating.” In the movie, Balboa and his son re-establish a strong relationship through a shared passion for boxing.
The documentary shows footage from Rocky V premiere in 1990. “There’s a line in the movie, ‘I’m so glad he’s born because now I can live through your eyes,’” Stallone says while standing with his son on the red carpet. “That, I think, is what fathers look to their children for. 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 2012, Stallone first opened up on his son’s tragic death in an interview with NBC. “It’s tough, I mean, it’s very, very tough,” he revealed. Adding that “time will hopefully heal” the pain.
Adding: “But if you have good friends and your family’s support, it’s just something that’s a horrible situation. But, you know, time hopefully will heal, and you try to get through it. But it’s just something that’s a reality of life.”
“It’s important to get back and try to start re-living your life,” Stallone concluded. “Otherwise, you can, you can go into a spiral.”
Watch the trailer for Sly below.