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Legendary actor, director, and former NFL linebacker Carl Weathers has died. He was 76.

His family released a statement through his agent to announce that he died “peacefully in his sleep” on February 1.

“Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life,” the statement continued. “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.”

Weathers was an all-around athlete and a star linebacker for San Diego State, where he earned a master’s degree in theater. He played for the 1970 Oakland Raiders team that advanced to the AFC Championship Game before transitioning to acting.

Weathers quickly rose to fame for his role as Apollo Creed in the first four ‘Rocky’ films, which earned him a NAACP Image Award nomination.

Sylvester Stallone And Carl Weathers In 'Rocky'

Source: United Artists / Getty

His career defied the traditional action star stereotype. He had a sharp sense of humor and a wicked self-awareness that set him apart from his peers. His willingness to poke fun at his himself was on full display in his scene stealing role in “Arrested Development” playing an exaggerated version of himself.

Weathers’ career earned several awards and nominations. In addition to his NAACP Image Award nomination, he was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘Predator’ and most recently earning a Emmy nomination for his role as Gree Karga in ‘The Mandalorian’ on Disney+.

With a career that spanned over 5 decades, Weathers’ legacy is sure to be felt for a long time to come.

Film fans will remember Carl Weathers as a legendary actor, director, who defied the stereotypes. His friends and family will remember for his kindness, loyalty and wicked sense of humor.

Tributes poured in on social media for the veteran actor following the news.

Michael B. Jordan, who revived Weathers’ character in the “Creed” spinoff franchise, posted a photo of the legendary actor on his Instagram story with the caption: “We lost a legend.”

Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Creed" - Arrivals

Source: Jeffrey Mayer / Getty

Weathers’ “Predator” co-star Jesse Ventura wrote: “We lost an icon. Carl Weathers was a phenomenal talent, a true professional, and a dear friend. All my sympathies and love to his family. I loved working with him on Predator and then celebrating that film with him at various conventions in the ensuing years. Thank you, Carl.”

Adam Sandler, Weathers’ co-star from ‘Happy Gilmore’ also penned a heartfelt message, calling him a great man, dad, actor and athlete.

TV One extends our deepest condolences to Carl Weathers’ family, friends, loved ones and fans across the world.

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Carl Weathers, Apollo Creed in ‘Rocky’ Films, Dies At 76  was originally published on