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Anderson Cooper mourns mother Gloria Vanderbilt in emotional on-air tribute

Nick Duffy June 17, 2019
Anderson Cooper with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt

Anderson Cooper with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has announced the death of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, paying an emotional on-air tribute to her.

Vanderbilt, a famed New York fashion icon and socialite, died from stomach cancer on Monday (June 17) at the age of 95.

Her death was announced by her son, out TV host Anderson Cooper, in a segment on CNN.

Anderson Cooper mourns ‘extraordinary mother’ Gloria Vanderbilt

In the clip, Cooper praised his mother as “the strongest person I’ve ever met” and reflected on her living “her entire life in the public eye.”

Cooper said: “Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived, on her own terms… she was ready to go.

“When the end came, she was not alone. She was surrounded by beauty and family and friends.

“Gloria Vanderbilt was 95 years old when she died. What an extraordinary life, what an extraordinary mum, and what an incredible woman.”

In a statement, he added: “Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms. She was a painter, a writer and 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, and most modern.

“She died this morning, the way she wanted to — at home, surrounded by family and friends.”

Gloria Vanderbilt had a same-sex relationship

Vanderbilt was famously close to Cooper, with the pair filming a documentary together and co-writing a book about their relationship.

The heir to the Vanderbilt family fortune, who was married four times and had four children, revealed in 2016 that she had a same-sex romance as a young girl.

In an interview with PEOPLE Magazine alongside Cooper, she revealed to her shocked son: “I went through a brief so-called lesbian relationship with a girl in school. We all did – it was very prevalent.

“Cynthia, her name was, and she came once to visit my aunt in New York on holiday. We had this sort of lesbian relationship and it felt so great.”

Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper attend the launch party for The World Of Gloria Vanderbilt at the Ralph Lauren Women's Boutique on November 4, 2010 in New York City
Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper attend the launch party for The World Of Gloria Vanderbilt at the Ralph Lauren Women’s Boutique on November 4, 2010 in New York City (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)

Vanderbilt’s mother and Cooper’s grandmother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, is also believed to have been a lesbian.

Her sexuality became a matter of newspaper gossip amid a 1932 custody battle that eventually saw her stripped of the right to raise her daughter.

In 2016, Cooper explained of the family scandal: “That word [lesbian] wasn’t spoken. The press wasn’t supposed to write about it.

“My mum knew that something terrible had come out in the court, but she didn’t know what it was and she didn’t know what being a lesbian meant at the time.”

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