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Anderson Cooper Delivers Intimate, Moving Farewell to His Mother, Gloria Vanderbilt

At the end of his Thursday night show, CNN’s Anderson Cooper offered up an intimate and touching farewell to his mother, fashion icon and artist Gloria Vanderbilt, who passed away at the age of 95 on Monday.

“I wanted to take a few moments to thank all of you who have reached out to me about the death of my mom, Gloria Vanderbilt. Your calls, your texts, and Tweets have truly meant a lot,” Cooper said, at the start of a soliloquy that leavened raw grief with bits of wry humor. “My mom would be stunned by all the attention and the kind words written and spoken about her. I know this because when I got her to join Instagram when she was like 92 or so she didn’t think anyone would actually follow her. ‘Why would anyone be interested?’ she asked. It wasn’t long before she had some 200,000 followers and it tickled her beyond belief.”

Cooper has been off the air for the past week and a half, dealing with his mother’s sudden diagnosis of cancer.

“My mom found out June 8th that she had cancer. She lived nine more days,” he explained. “To be able to spend those nine days and nights with her was a great, great blessing. They were the most extraordinary days of my life and I’m very grateful. She died Monday shortly after 4:00 A.M., and though I was holding her hand and her head when she took her last breath it’s still a little hard for me to believe she’s gone.”

Vanderbilt, daughter to the heir of her famous grandfather Cornelious Vanderbilt’s railroad fortune, lived an iconoclastic life as a fashion model, apparel designer, actress, poet, and painter. She married four times, and with her final husband, Wyatt Cooper, she gave birth to two sons, Carter and Anderson. All save Anderson are now deceased.

“One of her friends explained her sadness by describing my mom as her north star, a person she used as a guide, a kind of light in the darkness. I never realized until now how much she was my north star as well. And right now things seem less bright,” Cooper said, his voice clearly breaking. He then took a deep breath to muster up the emotional strength to continue: “My dad died when I was 10, and my brother when I was 21. She was the last of my immediate family who knew me from the beginning and they’re all gone and it feels very lonely right now. I hope they are at least together.”

I’m happy I was able to make the latter years of her life comfortable and fulfilling. When I die that might be the thing I’m most proud of. She knew me and I knew her, and there’s great comfort in that. ‘You and I, it’s a match made in heaven,’ she said to me last week. ‘We’re a good team,’ I told her. We stayed up late that night holding hands and when she got sleepy she said to me ‘What a wonderful night,’ and it was. Perhaps our best.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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