Anderson Cooper's mom: "I thought I was going to jump"

Sep 19, 2011 at 3:17 p.m. ET

The mother of Anderson Cooper gave a rare interview about the suicide of her other son, Carter.

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper brought his glamorous mother Gloria Vanderbilt on his show today to discuss an intensely personal family tragedy: The suicide of his brother Carter Vanderbilt Cooper.

Carter died after throwing himself off a balcony of the family's posh New York apartment in 1988 -- a suicide his mother later came to believe was caused by a new asthma medication.

"Do you still think about that day?" Anderson asked his mom.

"All the time, I still run through it," Vanderbilt answered. "There was a moment when...he did not jump. He was sitting on the wall thirteen floors up, on the balcony. With one foot on there and one foot hanging down, he kept looking down."

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"I kept begging him too... and then when he went, he went like an athlete and hung over the wall like this. I said, 'Carter, come back,' and for a minute I thought he was going to come back, but he didn't. He let go. There was a moment when I thought I was going to jump after him. But then I thought of you and it stopped me from doing that," she poignantly explained.

"There is this word 'closure' that they talk spoke [sic] so much about today, but there's never closure on something that happens like that."

In addition to the new medication, 23-year-old Carter had recently broken up with his girlfriend and moved back home. Gloria Vanderbilt is an heiress-turned-fashion-designer whose jeans helped usher in the era of designer denim.

Image courtesy of DJDM /