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Beloved Disney Actor’s Official Cause of Death Finally Revealed

carl weathers
Credit: Walt Disney Television

The cause of the death of a beloved Disney, Star Wars, and Pixar actor has finally been revealed.

Because the 100-year-old Walt Disney Company has produced numerous films, television series, and other offerings–and because those offerings and films span across multiple brands, including Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic, and others–the death of a Hollywood actor or actress often resonates with Disney’s billions of fans as the chances are good that a recently departed Hollywood celebrity had a role in a Disney project as some point in his or her career.

Such was the case with one of Hollywood’s most recent losses–that of the widely respected Rocky actor turned Disney, Star Wars, and Pixar actor Carl Weathers.

carl weathers

Credit: Walt Disney Television

Weathers died in his sleep on February 1, per a statement released by his family.

On Friday, the beloved actor’s official cause of death was revealed. Per his death certificate, Weathers died of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, often referred to as atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. Atherosclerosis involves the thickening or hardening of the arteries that is caused by the buildup of plaque inside the arteries. Risk factors for the disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and obesity.

Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to heart attacks, stroke, blood clots, and aneurysms, each of which can be fatal. It’s not clear whether the late actor succumbed to one of the aforementioned events.

Related: Carl Weathers Super Bowl Ad Reworked Following His Death

carl weathers gina carano pedro pascal

Credit: Walt Disney Television

Per the death certificate, Weathers’ son Matthew was the person responsible for notifying authorities about his passing. The family also issued a public statement announcing his passing.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Carl Weathers,” his family said in a statement. “He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1, 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.”

carl weathers

Credit: Walt Disney Television

Following his death, Weathers was cremated.

More Than 50 Years in Hollywood

Before he was an actor, Carl Weathers, a New Orleans native, was a successful football player. He played for San Diego State University before being drafted by the Oakland Raiders as an NFL linebacker.

carl weathers as an nfl linebacker for the Oakland Raiders

Credit: Oakland Raiders

Some of Weathers’ most memorable roles included that of Apollo Creed opposite actor Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky films (Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, and Rocky IV), Chubbs Peterson, former gold pro and mentor Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore in the film of the same name, and Al Dillon in Predator (1987) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Chubbs Peterson’s incredible backstory includes an alligator attack, during which the professional golfer lost his hand and had it replaced with a wooden hand. As such, he had to step away from his professional golf tour. The wooden replacement hand was at the center of Adam Sandler’s comedic prowess in scenes with Weathers during Happy Gilmore.

Happy Gilmore (1996) - IMDb

Credit: Universal Pictures

Aside from his comedic role in the film, Weathers proved he could sing, too, at the end of Happy Gilmore, when he donned an all-white suit, pretended to play the piano, channeled his inner Karen Carpenter, and sang “We’ve Only Just Begun” in Heaven.

Weathers’ credits also included lending his trademark voice to the Combat Carl character in the 2013 made-for-television Toy Story special Toy Story of Terror, as well as in 2019’s Toy Story 4.

combat carl and jessie cowgirl toy story of terror

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

For Disney and Lucasfilm, Weathers also starred opposite the famed bounty hunter Din Djarin, played by actor Pedro Pascal, as the High Magistrate Greef Karga, the head of the Bounty Hunters Guild in the Star Wars-inspired hit series for Disney+, The Mandalorian.

carl weathers

Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Our thoughts and prayers, as well as our deepest sympathies, continue to be extended to his family, his friends, and his fans, who are no doubt grieving the loss of this giant of a humble man.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

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