Carl Weathers, known for portraying Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky films, died at age 76 on February 1.

How Did Carl Weathers Die?

Weathers’ death was announced on February 2 by his family in a statement to multiple outlets.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” the statement read. “He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024. … 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.”

No immediate cause of death was revealed. Tributes poured in from his fans, friends and former Hollywood costars on social media. They remembered his contributions to film and television over the course of his five decades in Hollywood.

Inside Carl Weathers’ Life and Career

Weathers most recently appeared in The Mandalorian as Greef Karga from 2019 to 2023 alongside Pedro Pascal. The role earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2021.

“I’ve been fortunate that my focus has been, every decade, to reinvent myself,” Weathers reflected on his career in 2018. “As audiences change, it’s incumbent of me as a performer to find that audience to be able to connect with that audience. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to change but I have to be aware of what audiences like and deliver a performance that the audience will warm up to.”

Carl Weathers cause of death
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

In addition to his work on the Star Wars series, he earned roles in Chicago Justice, Chicago P.D. and more. Weathers also appeared in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, and later costarred alongside him in Little Nicky and Eight Crazy Nights.

“A true great man. Great dad. Great actor. Great athlete. So much fun to be around always. Smart as hell. Loyal as hell. Funny as hell. Loved his sons more than anything. What a guy!! Everyone loved him,” Adam wrote on X following the news of Weathers’ passing. “My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him. Love to his entire family and Carl will always be known as a true legend.”

Prior to jumpstarting his acting career in the ’70s, the film icon played in the NFL. He signed with the Oakland Raiders in 1970, leading them to clinch the AFC West Division title. He was released by the team in 1971.

Acting then became his main focus, as well as raising his family. Weathers is survived by his two sons, Jason and Matthew, whom he welcomed with ex-wife Mary Ann Castle.