"He cared so deeply about the planet, the animals and all people," Rain Phoenix said of her late brother
River Phoenix’s mother and sister are honoring him 30 years after his death.
Arlyn “Heart” Phoenix shared a photo of her late son, who died of a drug overdose on Oct. 31, 1993, on Instagram on Tuesday, along with a heartfelt message about his caring nature.
“Today marks 30 years that have come and gone since River passed away at the age of 23,” Heart, 78, wrote. “From the first song he ever wrote at five years old seeing a kid being bullied … He was a voice for the voiceless and had the courage to use his celebrity to make a difference."
Heart also shared the lyrics to 5-year-old River’s song: “Why do people fight, Why do people cheat, Why do people destroy the love in our world? I want to give my life for them, I know it won't be easy my friend. If I could show them God's, they will receive joy and peace from above”
“Whether it was for human rights, animal rights, women’s rights, racial justice, environmentalism or any wrong that needed to be righted, he was there,” she continued before going on to quote her daughter. “Rain said it so eloquently… ’River was not about telling people how to live their lives, he was about doing his part and encouraging others through his example, through his art. It’s just who he was as a person, his generosity, his spirit, his compassion.’ ”
Heart continued, “He was devastated by the state of the world then and even with the many changes that have happened, we are still at war with ourselves everywhere. I often think that he, like many of the young people of today, would be so confused that with all our incredible brilliance and advancements in all fields, we still haven't found the ability to rectify these huge issues that continue to destroy the better nature of ourselves and all that live here.”
“When will we be brave enough to transform all of the issues of separation and move on to reparation, peace by peace, in order to live and celebrate our one common humanity? It's not too late,” she finished.
"Hi, this is Rain, and I wanted to honor and celebrate the life of my brother River Phoenix who passed away 30 years ago today,” Rain, 50, said in the clip. “He cared so deeply about the planet, the animals and all people.”
“He really believed that one person can make a difference,” she added, before ending the video with a quote from the late actor: “It’s the smaller things that make the bigger things seem so much more rewarding. We’re all in this together. We can all do our part.”
“30 years 🕊️🙏🏼Celebrating River’s life today 🙏🏼🕊️,” she wrote in the caption.
Rain, who formed and performed in a band called Aleka's Attic with River, also honored her late brother through art.
In her video tribute, she highlighted fan-made drawings and paintings of the My Own Private Idaho actor, and shared more details about them in the caption.
“Sincerest gratitude to River’s fans! #givers4river,” she wrote. “And to the amazing artists who created these images of River, thank you.”
Like River’s mom, Raina also ended her tribute with a broader message about peace.
"LOVE is more powerful than hate. We can all do our part,” she wrote. “More love. Less hate. Peace. Peace. PEACE. xxx Rain.”
Joaquin, 49, named his first child, son River, after his late brother, who also made his mark on the world largely through acting, starring in beloved films like Stand By Me, Running on Empty and My Own Private Idaho.
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While accepting an Oscar for best actor for Joker at the 2020 Academy Awards, Joaquin paid tribute to his late brother, highlighting River’s love of art and dedication to peace by sharing one of his most meaningful lyrics.
"I've been a scoundrel all my life. I've been selfish. I've been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I'm grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance," Joaquin told the audience. "And I think that's when we're at our best, when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other towards redemption. That is the best of humanity."
"When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric," Joaquin finished. "He said, 'Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.' ”
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