When Sylvester Stallone's 36-year-old son Sage Stallone was found dead in his LA home last month, I think most people drew their own conclusions as to what had happened. There were all sorts of rumors that Sage had been battling a major drug problem, with TMZ flat-out calling the death an overdose -- and reporting that "numerous empty pill bottles" were found near Sage's body.
It's unfortunate that autopsies take as long as they do, because the information released today by the Los Angeles County coroner's office would have put a lot of gossip to rest back in July. As it turns out, Sage Stallone succumbed to the single largest killer of men and women in the United States.
The autopsy findings will be detailed in a full autopsy report to be made public next week, but the short version is this: Sage Stallone had heart disease. He died of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which brought on a heart attack.
No drugs were found in Stallone's body other than a minimal ("sub-therapeutic") amount of hydrocodone, which did not contribute to his death.
His history of smoking may have contributed to his death, but there's likely no way to tell for sure. The only thing that is certain is that whatever Sage Stallone had going on in his personal life, the reports that came out after his untimely passing were false ... and I can't imagine how hurtful that must have been for his family.
Sylvester Stallone pleaded for an end to the "speculation and questionable reporting" about Sage's supposed drug addictions, saying,
Because when a parent loses a child there is no greater pain. Therefore I am imploring people to respect my wonderfully talented son's memory and feel compassion for his loving mother, Sasha, because this agonizing loss will be felt for the rest of our lives. Sage was our first child and the center of our universe and I am humbly begging for all to have my son's memory and soul left in peace.
While it's really none of our business how Sage Stallone died, I hope having this news will put an end to the rumors. Frankly, I'm not sure why the public should even have access to the full autopsy report, but maybe knowing that it was heart disease -- the same unfortunate but hardly exotic condition that kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year -- is enough for the media to move on, and let Stallone's family grieve in private.
Do you think tabloids should apologize for reporting that Sage Stallone died of a drug overdose?
Image via Rocky V