On Monday, Anderson Cooper announced the news that his mother, heiress, socialite and fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt died at the age of 95. One day after her death, Cooper shared a touching tribute to her on Instagram.
The CNN journalist shared a series of photos of Vanderbilt throughout her life, including a photo of them together, and a photo holding each other’s hands in her final days.
“In the end, after all else is stripped away, there is only love. My mom believed in love more than anyone,” Cooper wrote. “It was her guide, her solace, it’s what drove her, and in her final moments, it is what surrounded her. “i love you, you know that,” she would say to me, and i did, i knew it from the moment i was born, and i will know it till the moment i die. It was her greatest gift to me.”
In an obituary for CNN, Cooper explained that Vanderbilt had been battling cancer.
“Earlier this month, we had to take her to the hospital. That’s where we learned she had very advanced cancer in her stomach and that it had spread,” Cooper explained. “When the doctor told her she had cancer, she was silent for a while, and then she said, ‘Well, it’s like that old song: Show me the way to get out of this world, because that’s where everything is.'”
He added: “Love is what she believed in more than anything. Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived: on her own terms.”
In 2016, Cooper and Vanderbilt penned a joint memoir, The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son Talk About Life, Love, and Loss. In an interview with PEOPLE, Cooper opened up about what compelled them to share their story.
“When my mom turned 91, I wanted to use the time that we have left in our lives to get to know each other as adults,” Cooper explained. “I realized I didn’t want there to be anything left unsaid with my mom, I didn’t want there to be questions that I still had about who she was and what her life was like. And I didn’t want her to have questions about me as an adult.”
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They also starred in the 2016 HBO documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper, where they reflected on Vanderbilt’s remarkable life.
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While promoting the doc in 2016, Cooper opened up about Vanderbilt’s sunny disposition.
“She’s like Henry VIII and I’m like his adviser, Cromwell,” he said at a Television Critics Association panel. “I think she does have this incredibly optimistic way of looking at things. She really believes the next great love is right around the corner, and there’s Mom’s guy on a boat in the Mediterranean just waiting to whisk her away. That very well may be … nothing would surprise me with my mom. But she’s the most youthful person I know, even at almost 92.”
While Cooper said she was “far more joyous” than he is, his close friend, What What Happens Live‘s Andy Cohen, pointed out that the mother-son duo share an uncanny similarity – their infectious giggle.
“Gloria Vanderbilt was an amazing woman who lived a life filled with incredible peaks and impossible obstacles,” Cohen began. “Through it all she remained eternally optimistic with a wicked sense of humor. In fact, Anderson’s iconic and infectious giggle comes from his mom.”
“Sending Anderson all my love, and may she Rest In Peace,” he added.