Gloria Vanderbilt, the fashion designer, socialite and mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, has died at the age of 95, according to multiple reports.
Vanderbilt died Monday, June 17, at home, surrounded by friends and family, CNN reports.
“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement. “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.”
Vanderbilt was the great-great-grandaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest railroad tycoons and financiers of his time, and the daughter of Reginald Vanderbilt, heir to his fortune. After her father’s death, as a young girl, she was the subject of a bitter custody battle between her aunt and mother, and it shaped her eventual desire to make her own money.
As an artist, she made a name for herself, but it was her turn as a designer, especially of her signature skinny jeans in the 1970s, that truly made her a pop culture figure. She was also known for her beauty and eclectic sense of style.
She married four times and had two sons with husband Wyatt Cooper. Cooper died in his 50s and, in 1988, her son Carter Cooper, Anderson’s brother, took his own life by jumping from their NYC apartment balcony. The tragic incident took place in front of Vanderbilt as she was trying to talk him down.
From there, Vanderbilt wrote several novels, art books and memoirs.
“I believe that we have to cherish the pain we experience, as we cherish the joy,” she told Lifetime. “Because without one there wouldn’t be the other, and it’s what makes us alive. And I think that’s very, very important.”
Anderson Cooper made the announcement to CNN Monday, who was the first to report the news.