(CNN) — Carl Weathers, who came to fame as Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” movies and proceeded to appear in dozens of movies and TV shows from “Predator” to “The Mandalorian,” has died, according to his manager Matt Luber. Weathers was 76.

The actor “died peacefully at home” on Thursday, Luber told CNN. No cause of death was available.

“Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life,” his family said in a statement provided to CNN. “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 actually a former football player who had never boxed when he auditioned for the role in “Rocky,” proceeding to appear as Apollo Creed in the Oscar-winning film and the next three sequels.

In a 2015 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Weathers recalled auditioning with Stallone, who he was told was the film’s writer, not knowing that Stallone was also the star. Afterwards, feeling the reading hadn’t gone well, he recalled, “I just blurted out, ‘I could do a lot better if you got me a real actor to work with.’”

The character was obviously inspired by Muhammad Ali, who Weathers later met.
Weathers parlayed his “Rocky” exposure into a number of other roles that capitalized on his imposing physicality, including the 1987 sci-fi action movie “Predator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The next year, he starred as a Detroit cop in the poorly received “Action Jackson.”

Subsequent roles included the Adam Sandler comedy “Happy Gilmore” and “In the Heat of the Night” TV movies, the series “Arrested Development” and providing the voice of Combat Carl in the “Toy Story” franchise.

Most recently, Weathers played a key supporting role in the “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” – earning an Emmy nomination as guest actor in a drama – on Disney+, and directed one of the episodes.

Weathers had also directed episodes of several TV series, including “Chicago Med,” “Law & Order” and “Hawaii Five-O.”

Born in New Orleans, Weathers played college football at San Diego State and briefly played professionally with the Oakland Raiders and in the Canadian Football League.

He gave up football in the mid-1970s and began to pursue acting, earning roles in two blaxploitation movies before his breakthrough with “Rocky.”

Weathers was married three times, and is survived by two sons.

Upon learning of Weathers’ death, his “Mandalorian” costar Pedro Pascal simply wrote “words fail” alongside a broken heart emoji in the caption next to a photo of the fallen star on Instagram.

Sandler also posted in honor of Weathers on Instagram, writing alongside a gallery of images that he was “a true great man.”

“Great dad. Great actor. Great athlete. So much fun to be around always,” he wrote, adding later, “My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him.”

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