After more than four decades and eight movies, actor Sylvester Stallone says he is finally hanging up his Rocky gloves.
In a video he shared on Instagram Wednesday, the 72-year-old actor said he was ready to walk away from playing the iconic character, referring to his latest appearance in the recently released “Creed II” as his “last rodeo.”
“I thought Rocky was over in 2006 and I was very happy with that,” he said in the video.
“And then all of a sudden this young man presented himself and the whole story changed,” he added, pointing to his “Creed” co-star Michael B. Jordan.
“It went on to a new generation, new problems, new adventures.”
The “Creed” films are a continuation of the Rocky story, following the retired champ as he faces up to middle age and trains a new protege.
Stallone said he couldn’t be happier for the way things turned out for the Rocky saga that began in 1976 and which chronicled the life of the heroic underdog boxer.
“As I step back, as my story has been told, there is a whole new world that’s going to be opening up for the audience, for this generation,” he said, adding that it was up to Jordan now to “carry the mantle.”
Stallone said the video, which appears to have been filmed on a beach, next to a bonfire, was shot on his last day making “Creed II.” In it, he addresses some of the cast and crew of the film.
In a message on Instagram accompanying the video, Stallone said he was sad to abandon the role but that it was time to turn the page.
“It’s been my Ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character,” he wrote. “Though it breaks my heart, Sadly all things must pass… and end.”
The first Rocky movie won three Academy Awards for best picture, best director and best film editing.
Stallone has been nominated three times for an Oscar for his role in the Rocky series, but the prized statuette has always eluded him.