Anderson Cooper says it's still 'hard to comprehend' his brother's death by suicide — now 31 years later: I 'miss him terribly'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

They say that you don’t “move on” from grief, you move forward with it — and that certainly seems to be the case for Anderson Cooper.

Anderson Cooper is remembering his brother on the 31st anniversary of his death. (Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

The CNN news personality — who buried his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, last month — paid tribute to his brother, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, on the 31st anniversary of his death by suicide. The social media post included photos of them together as boys — and Carter with their socialite and fashion designer mother. But it was what Cooper wrote that was the real tearjerker.

“31 years ago today, my brother, Carter Cooper, died by suicide,” Cooper captioned the post. He said that he still finds it “hard to comprehend” that his brother, only 23, took his own life. He also admitted that there’s “not a day goes by when i do not think of him and miss him terribly.”

Cooper’s friend Kelly Ripa was among those to comment on the post, adding a heart emoji. Brooke Shields wrote, “Your brother was a beautiful soul and a friend. My love is being sent to you always for your loss.”

Carter jumped 14 stories to death from Vanderbilt’s NYC penthouse apartment on July 22, 1988. Vanderbilt witnessed it while pleading with him to get down from the ledge.

Cooper — whose father, writer Wyatt Cooper, died in1978 during open heart surgery — previously said that his brother’s death has haunted him.

“He was so much smarter than me, he had gone to Princeton, he was working at American Heritage as a book editor, and it was so inconceivable to me,” Cooper told Howard Stern in 2014.

He also said that while Carter’s death “may not be the first thing” he thinks of each morning, “there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.”

Cooper said he’ll always struggle with the why. (The toxicology report offered no insight as Carter didn’t have drugs or alcohol in his system. A month prior to his death, he began seeing a therapist for depression.)

“With suicide, we like to think that it’s this clear thing, and it’s not – and that’s the horrible thing about suicide,” Cooper told Stern. “The family members are left for their entire lives wondering why. Sometimes there isn’t any why.”

As the two remaining members of their family, Cooper and Vanderbilt had a tight bond. She died of advanced stomach cancer on June 17 at the age of 95 and was buried next to Carter and Wyatt.

Cooper, who inherited the bulk of his mother’s fortune (she had two other sons from other relationships), has said he’s lonely after her death. When he returned to CNN after taking personal time, he told viewers, “It's still a little hard for me to believe she's gone... My dad died when I was 10, and my brother when I was 21. She was the last of my immediate family, the last person who knew me from the beginning. They're all gone and it feels very lonely right now. I hope they are at least together.”

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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