“Rocky” star Carl Weathers died in his sleep on Thursday, his family announced. He was 76.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” his family said in a statement on Friday.
“Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.”
The character actor is best known for his role as boxer Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” movie franchise.
Weathers appeared in the first four Rocky films and appeared in Predator, The Mandalorian, Happy Gilmore, Action Jackson and dozens of other films and TV shows.
Prior to a career in acting, Weathers played for the then-Oakland Raiders in 1970 and 1971.
Weathers got his start in blaxploitation films and television crime dramas in the early ’70s.
He was hand-picked by actor Sylvester Stallone for his breakout role as Apollo Creed in the original Rocky film in 1976.
Weathers went on to play boxer Rocky Balboa’s rival-turned-friend in the Rocky franchise until his death in the boxing ring in Rocky IV (1985).
Actor Michael B. Jordan played Apollo’s son in the Rocky spin-off, Creed.
Weathers also starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator (1987) and he starred in the title role of the 1988 comedy film Action Jackson.