There is much sadness in Sylvester Stallone's world this weekend and for a long time to come. His 36-year-old son Sage Stallone was found dead on Friday at his house in Los Angeles, and it's looking like it may have been a drug overdose. It's also looking like he may have been dead for 3-4 days or even as long as a week.
Sage, who as a child played Rocky Balboa's young son opposite his dad in Rocky V and appeared with his father again in Daylight in 1996, was largely out of the limelight as an adult, though he did work on smaller films as a director, actor, and producer. But the details emerging about his death are disturbing, to say the least.
TMZ says there were two drawers filled with prescription pill bottles, and that the 66-year-old actor's son lived like a recluse, often holing himself up in his room for days at a time without leaving.
A police source told the site that no one had heard from Sage for a week and that he "lived like Howard Hughes" in a filthy room full of beer and soda cans, cigarette butts, and food scraps. Still, police said it didn't appear to be a suicide -- and they warned that rumors of an overdose were premature.
What's all very mysterious is how Sage's lawyer George Braunstein described an encounter he'd had with him shortly before his death in an interview with People magazine:
(Sage) was full of life, a wonderful, loving person. The last time I talked to him a few days ago he was saying he was getting married, he had a lot of things he was working on and seemed very enthusiastic. There was no indication there was any problem.
If it's true that this came as a complete shock with no warning, it makes the news all the more tragic for his father, who is said to be "devastated and grief-stricken," and his mom Sasha Czack (Stallone's first wife). It's awful enough for a parent to lose a child, but to lose a child this way when you had no idea anything was wrong must be doubly hard.
But if this does turn out to be a drug overdose of some kind, and if Sage did in fact lead such an unhealthy life, then there obviously were signs that were just ignored or overlooked. Which means Sylvester and Sasha are not only consumed by grief, but by guilt. They're no doubt asking themselves a million questions in the midst of all the tears: What did we do wrong? What could we have done to stop this? Why did this happen? Does this make us bad parents? Is this our fault? Guilt is a very prominent and very natural part of being a parent, but at no time is it as strong as when something terrible happens to one of your children.
The circumstances surrounding Sage's sudden death will trickle out in time. And who knows how this happened -- maybe there were things his parents could have done differently. But living through the loss of your son is horrible enough. Let's hope that whatever is discovered about why he died so young, they can one day learn to forgive themselves.
Do you think the parents are to blame in a situation like this?
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