Sylvester Stallone’s bond with late son Sage

Sage Stallone
Sage Stallone

The sudden and unexpected passing of Sage Stallone, 36, on Friday night is said to have "devastated" his father Sylvester Stallone.

The father and son duo had reportedly grown close in recent years, though their relationship certainly had its rough spots. In a 1996 interview with People magazine, Sage -- who was raised by Stallone's first wife, Sasha, after his parents divorced in 1985 -- discussed playing the son of Rocky Balboa in 1990's "Rocky V."

"When I was screaming, 'You never spent time with me! You never spent time with my mother!'—that was true," Sage said. "I was looking into my father's face and really saying that."

But eventually, "everything changed," and the two mended their relationship, he told People. They reteamed on big screen in the 1996 action movie "Daylight." Stallone was his son's No. 1 advocate on that project. "I didn't realize how much of a stage mother I had become," he joked to People. Director Rob Cohen says the reinvigorated relationship between them was clear to everyone on set. "Between takes, Sly and Sage would roll around in the dirt like two puppies," Cohen told People.

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Sylvester Stallone and Sage Stallone
Sylvester Stallone and Sage Stallone

Though the two may have shared the same handsome looks, they couldn't be any more different.

"Sage has chosen an entirely different route," said Stallone of his son. "He's interested in a different type of filmmaking. And he avoids the gym like the plague."

In 1996, Sage teamed up with film editor Bob Murawski to launch Grindhouse Releasing, which restores cult films and produces documentaries. More recently, he directed the 2006 short "Vic," which screened at the Palm Springs Film Festival.

"He was very respectful of all the actors in all the movies," Sage's attorney, George Braunstein, told the Associated Press. "You couldn't mention a movie that he didn't know everything about.

"He was a full of life filmmaker with his whole future ahead of him," Braunstein said of Sage (who was planning to wed for the first time). "He was just very up and enthusiastic and positive."

Added the attorney, "He was very proud of his father and proud to be his father's son."

Sage Stallone was found unresponsive in his L.A. home Friday. Police have found no signs of foul play or trauma, and the cause of death remains unclear.

The news of Sage's passing came just a day after Stallone made a joyful appearance at Comic Con alongside longtime rival Arnold Schwarzenegger as the two promoted their upcoming film "The Expendables 2."