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Sylvester Stallone | Source: Getty Images
Sylvester Stallone | Source: Getty Images

Sylvester Stallone’s 1st Wife Begged Their Son Not to Get Surgery Weeks before He Died in 2012

Junie Sihlangu
Oct 10, 2023
10:42 A.M.

Sage Stallone, Sasha Czack and Sylvester Stallone's son didn't listen to his mother's requests for him not to undergo dental surgery. Weeks after the procedure, he passed away.

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The "Rocky" star Sylvester Stallone may be one of the most successful actors in Hollywood, but his life has not been a walk in the park. He even experienced the "greatest pain" for a parent: losing his son, Sage Stallone.

For weeks, people speculated about Sage's untimely and unexpected passing. Many were confident that it was related to drugs or alcohol, but the truth was completely different.

Sylvester Stallone in a vest and shorts while posing for a boxing shot circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Sylvester Stallone in a vest and shorts while posing for a boxing shot circa 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Sylvester’s Tough Upbringing and Being a Father to His Own Son

Sylvester had to fight for his life as soon as he was born because one of his facial nerves was severed due to an accident during his delivery. Part of the star's chin and tongue were left paralyzed, leading to his trademark snarl, but as a child, he wasn't proud of that incident.

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Instead, having parts of his face in the wrong place made him feel like "Mr. Potato Head." Additionally, he was constantly bullied about it, his father was abusive, and his mother only kissed him twice during his childhood, making him even tougher.

Sylvester and Sage Stallone on September 10, 1990 at Hanson Galleries in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images

Sylvester and Sage Stallone on September 10, 1990 at Hanson Galleries in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images

For those reasons, the future celebrity got into trouble frequently. By age 12, he'd already gotten expelled from 13 schools and had broken eleven bones for doing dangerous things like jumping off a roof with an umbrella.

What eventually saved him was when he turned to bodybuilding and acting, however several of those years were spent with him barely surviving. At one point, he slept at Manhattan's Port Authority. Thankfully, his life changed in 1976 when he starred in "Rocky." Nowadays, Sylvester is one of the most successful actors, directors, and producers in showbiz.

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Two years before making it big as an actor, he married his first wife, Sasha Czack, who worked as a photographer and director. They had two sons, Sage and Seargeoh Stallone, before parting ways in 1985. Speaking about his 1990 role in "Rocky V," where he appeared alongside Sage, the younger actor revealed how cathartic it was.

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Sage confessed that when he screamed about his father never spending time with him or his mother, that statement was true for his real life. In his mind, he was facing down Sylvester, and they actually cried several times while shooting.

Sage Stallone, Jennifer Flavin, and Sylvester Stallone at the Equestrian Center in Los Angeles on August 26, 1988 | Source: Getty Images

Sage Stallone, Jennifer Flavin, and Sylvester Stallone at the Equestrian Center in Los Angeles on August 26, 1988 | Source: Getty Images

When the father-son duo completed filming, things changed for the better, with Sage admitting that they'd do anything "for each other." In a 1991 interview, Sasha's son confessed to becoming a spoiled brat after working alongside his father.

Sage Stallone and his mother, Sasha Czack, at the California Fashion Industry Friends of AIDS Project Los Angeles Fifth Annual Fashion Show & Dinner Benefit Salute to Gianni Versace on February 13, 1991, in Century City, California | Source: Getty Images

Sage Stallone and his mother, Sasha Czack, at the California Fashion Industry Friends of AIDS Project Los Angeles Fifth Annual Fashion Show & Dinner Benefit Salute to Gianni Versace on February 13, 1991, in Century City, California | Source: Getty Images

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At age 15, he thought of himself as a big celebrity and wanted to start frequenting bars, but his father luckily stopped him in his tracks. The pair's relationship became so good that Sylvester would walk off set to talk to his son, with Sage adding:

“My father realizes that he did okay with me. He did the best he could.”

Sylvester and Sage Stallone during the world premiere of "Rocky Balboa" in Hollywood, California, on December 13, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Sylvester and Sage Stallone during the world premiere of "Rocky Balboa" in Hollywood, California, on December 13, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Later in 1985, Sylvester married his second wife, actress and model Brigitte Nielsen. Their relationship ended in divorce after only two years. The star moved on, and in 1997, he and Jennifer Flavin, a model and businesswoman, tied the knot.

Some people also believed that his death was related to drug or alcohol abuse.

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They are still together and share three daughters, Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet Stallone. Unfortunately, life had more challenges prepared for Sylvester. His and Sasha's eldest son, film enthusiast and entrepreneur Sage, suddenly died at 36.

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Sage’s Unexpected Passing and Where He Is Buried

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Just like his famous father, Sage was an actor. He appeared with Sylvester in a few films, including "Daylight." The star's eldest child also founded Grindhouse Releasing, a company focused on remastering, restoring, and preserving films.

On July 13, 2012, Sage's housekeeper found his dead body in his Hollywood Hills home and immediately called the police. The media created speculation about his death almost instantly.

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Initially, some media outlets reported that he may have been dead for a few days before being discovered. However, evidence later dismissed those claims as Sage's final Facebook post was shared 17 hours before he was found.

Some people also believed that his death was related to drug or alcohol abuse, especially because allegations that he filled his room with liquor bottles flooded the news.

Sylvester and Sage Stallone filming "Rocky V" in 1990 | Photo: Getty Images

Sylvester and Sage Stallone filming "Rocky V" in 1990 | Photo: Getty Images

George Braunstein, Sage's longtime friend and attorney, felt alcohol abuse was impossible. Although Sylvester's son smoked and consumed candy and soda, he didn't touch alcohol, and the bottles found in his room were of Dr. Brown's Cream Soda. Braunstein added:

"Sage was a really young, very sensitive, and very talented kid. There has been no indication that there was anything wrong in his life."

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Sage Stallone at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in 1994 | Photo: Getty Images

Sage Stallone at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in 1994 | Photo: Getty Images

The late star's lawyer also confirmed that his friend never had serious health problems or a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Suicide was also ruled out, as the younger actor didn't leave a note and was about to marry his longtime girlfriend in Las Vegas.

He had five teeth removed and was likely taking painkillers.

Sasha's son was buried at the Westwood Memorial Park at the Chapel Garden Estate plot in Los Angeles, California.

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What Did Sylvester Say about Sage’s Death?

Shortly after Sage's death was reported and all the drugs and alcohol speculations were making the rounds on the internet, Sylvester asked people for respect. After confessing to being "grief-stricken" and that there was no greater pain for a parent than losing a child, he implored everybody to feel compassion for both Sage's memory and his mother.

He explained the "agonizing loss" would haunt them for the rest of their lives. The actor finished by saying that Sage was his and Sasha's first child and the center of their universe, so he asked everyone to leave his memory and soul in peace.

Sylvester Stallone on March 13, 2014 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Sylvester Stallone on March 13, 2014 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

What Did Sasha Beg Her Son Not to Do, Which Ultimately Led to His Death?

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The press eventually revealed that Sage underwent dental surgery two weeks before passing, even though his mother begged him not to do it. He had five teeth removed and was likely taking painkillers to ease the discomfort, confessed Sasha.

She had previously warned him against the procedure as she had heard about people dying after having multiple dental procedures done. Sasha wanted her son to have one tooth removed at a time, but he went ahead with the complete surgery anyway.

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At that point, the toxicology tests and autopsy were unknown, and an accidental overdose was still a possibility. Reports eventually revealed that Sage died of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which led to a heart attack in late August 2012.

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The toxicology test only found pain medication in his system, which overrules an overdose. A couple of weeks before Sage's cause of death was disclosed, Sylvester said the situation was horrible and described dealing with grief as "very tough."

The actor admitted to trying to get back to work to take his mind off the pain and was hopeful that time would help him heal. He was confident that he needed to get back to avoid going into a spiral.

The rest of Sylvester's children are doing well. Seargeoh, diagnosed with autism as a child, has stayed away from the spotlight his entire life. Sophia and Sistine are hosting the "Unwaxed" podcast, and Scarlet is a model and aspiring actress. Sylvester must be proud!

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