River Phoenix’s mom is remembering her beloved son on his birthday. Arlyn “Heart” Phoenix, 78, penned a heartfelt message in honor of River’s birthday on August 23. Heart said the day River was born in 1970 was “one of the most amazing days of my life.”
She continued, “Just as he tried to do with most people, River Jude embraced each of his siblings (who entered through the same portal after him) with his humor, wisdom, authenticity, talent, compassion, vulnerability and undying Love. I would say he was and still is our greatest teacher.”
River’s mom revealed that the “greatest pain” she’s experienced in life was “the pain of natural childbirth” and “the pain of my son’s passing.” River tragically passed away on October 31, 1993, at the age of 23 after overdosing on drugs at The Viper Room in Los Angeles. His younger siblings, Joaquin, now 48, and Rain, now 50, were with him at the time.
Heart continued, “But almost instantaneously on both occasions, the gifts that he brought were imbued in each of us and so we carry on celebrating his life for those 23 precious years. There are no guarantees in life and I don’t believe any of us were promised that we would not experience ‘tragic moments’. I count it one of the greatest blessings by living in the moment and drawing upon inner knowing as a sacred pathway to navigate through life’s many challenges. River’s life and death taught me that, in no uncertain terms. I am in awe of the fact that he is very much alive in me. Thank you for all the precious messages that I have received through these past 30 years.”
River was the oldest of Heart and John Lee Bottom’s 5 kids. At the time of his death, River was one of Hollywood’s most talented young stars. He had his first breakout role in the coming-of-age drama Stand By Me and earned his first Oscar nomination at 17 for his role in Running On Empty.
During his Oscars acceptance speech for Best Actor in 2020, the Joker actor gave his older brother a shoutout. “When he was when he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric,” Joaquin told the audience. “He said, ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.’”