After prolific actor Carl Weathers passed away on Thursday, several of his costars were quick to pay tribute and share their feelings about his legacy, including Pedro Pascal, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, who said in a heartfelt video posted to Instagram that he “never could have accomplished what we did with ‘Rocky’ without him.”
Weathers played primary antagonist Apollo Creed in the original, Oscar-winning “Rocky” from 1976, and went on to challenge Stallone’s titular boxer to a rematch in “Rocky II” three yers later.
The late star also appeared in the third and fourth installments of the franchise through 1985. His character’s son, played by Michael B. Jordan, is the central figure in the popular “Creed” sequel franchise that started in 2015.
In his social media video Friday, Stallone said he was “torn up” by the loss of Weathers, whom he called “an integral part of my life” and “my success.”
“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,” Stallone continued.
It’s an apt sentiment, as Weathers – who was in franchise-spawning titles including his memorable turn as part of Schwarzenegger’s doomed platoon of mercenaries being hunted in the jungle in 1987’s “Predator” – has not always been thought of as a top-ranking member of the pantheon of brawny, blockbuster action stars like those in the “Expendables” franchise (which does count Arnold and Sly among them), but should be.
“He was absolutely brilliant — his voice, his size, his power, his athletic ability. But more importantly his heart, his soul,” Stallone said this week.
He spoke to the camera while standing in front of a painting that depicted a scene the pair shared in one of the “Rocky” movies. He said it was likely one of the last moments they were ever in the boxing ring together, and “I’ll never forget it.”
According to Weathers’ manager Matt Luber, the Emmy-nominated “Mandalorian” actor “died peacefully at home” on Thursday at age 76. No cause of death was immediately available.
“He was magic, and I was so fortunate to be part of his life,” Stallone said. “So, Apollo, keep punching.”
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com