Sylvester Stallone's tribute to Rocky co-star Carl Weathers - 'we lost a legend'

Sylvester Stallone has paid tribute to his Rocky co-star, Carl Weathers, saying he is "torn up" following news of the star's death aged 76.

Stallone credited the former American footballer, famous for playing Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky movies, as being an "integral part" of his success, telling his 16.8 million Instagram followers "we lost a legend".

In a statement, Weathers' family said he died "peacefully in his sleep" on Thursday.

Speaking in a video post on Instagram, Stallone said it was "an incredibly sad day for me", describing himself as "torn up".

He went on: "Carl Weathers was such an integral part of my life, my success... I give him incredible credit.

"When he walked into that room and I saw him for the first time, I saw greatness but I didn't realise how great.

"I never could have accomplished what we did with Rocky without him. He was absolutely brilliant.

"Rest in power and keep punching."

Other Hollywood stars, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Adam Sandler, also paid tribute.

Schwarzenegger, who worked with him in 1987's Predator, wrote on social media site X: "Carl Weathers will always be a legend. An extraordinary athlete, a fantastic actor, and a great person.

"We couldn't have made Predator without him. And we certainly wouldn't have had such a wonderful time making it."

A second post went on: "Every minute with him - on set and off - was pure joy. He was the type of friend who pushes you to be your best just to keep up with him. I'll miss him, and my thoughts are with his family."

His fellow Predator co-star Jesse Ventura described Weathers as a "phenomenal talent, a true professional and a dear friend".

Adam Sandler, who played the title role in the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore opposite Weathers, called him "a true great man".

Weathers plays Happy Gilmore's golf coach Chubbs Peterson, a former pro golfer who was forced to retire after an alligator bit off his hand.

Sandler went on in his statement on X: "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. 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."

Julie Bowen, who co-starred in the film, said on Instagram: "Dearest Carl, you'll always be my Chubbs. What a glorious spirit you had. Thanks for making me smile. I hope they golf wherever you are."

Weathers also earned an Emmy Award nomination in 2021 for his role in Disney's The Mandalorian.

His former Mandalorian co-star, Gina Carano, wrote a lengthy tribute on Twitter, saying she was "flooded by all the precious memories we had together".

Weathers also voiced Combat Carl in the Toy Story franchise, and more recently starred in the sitcom Arrested Development.

Married and divorced three times, Weathers is survived by two children, Jason and Matthew.