CNN anchor Anderson Cooper memorialized his late mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, in a segment Monday morning on the cable news channel, remembering her as a woman who most importantly believed in love.
“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement on CNN announcing Vanderbilt’s death after a diagnosis of stomach cancer that had spread. “She was a painter, a writer, a designer but also a remarkable mother, wife and friend.
“She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her and they’d tell you she was the youngest person they knew — the coolest, the most modern. She died this morning the way she wanted to, at home, surrounded by family and friends.”
The memorial segment borrows footage heavily from “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper,” the 2016 HBO documentary about their intense bond.
The piece takes viewers through Vanderbilt’s very public life, which included a custody battle when she was a child, and multiple marriages when she was older.
“Her private self, her real self, that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public,” Cooper said. “I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who’d come from a distant star that burned out long ago.”
He said he felt it was his job to protect her, a woman who was strong but not tough.
“She never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life’s pleasures, its pains as well. She trusted too freely, too completely, and suffered tremendous losses, but she always pressed on, always worked hard, always believed the best was yet to come,” Cooper said.
And what she believed in more than anything, he said, was love.
“Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived, on her own terms,” Cooper said.
“I know she hoped for a little more time, a few days or weeks at least. There were paintings she wanted to make, books she wanted to read, more dreams to dream. But she was ready, she was ready to go.”
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