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Anderson Cooper and Stephen Colbert (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Related and JB Lacroix/Getty Images)

Anderson Cooper, who lost mom Gloria Vanderbilt two months ago, became emotional during a sit-down with Stephen Colbert for “360.” 

Tragedy has visited Cooper on more than one occasion. His father, Wyatt, died when Cooper was just 10. His brother, Carter, died by suicide in 1988, at 23-years-old. Cooper’s guest lost his dad and two brothers in a plane crash in 1974.

Introducing the clip to his Twitter followers, Cooper deemed it “one of my favorite excerpts” from their chat which aired on CNN Thursday. “This question he embraces left me stunned when i first read it, and i can’t stop thinking about his answer,” Cooper posted. “It has helped me, and i hope it helps others.”

“You told an interviewer that you have learned to – in your words – love the thing that I most wish had not happened,” Cooper began, before getting so choked up he had to pause. “You went on to say, ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ Do you really believe that?”

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“Yes,” affirmed the “Late Show” host after taking a beat. “It’s a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.”

“I don’t want it to have happened,” Colbert clarified. “I want it to not have happened, but if you are grateful for your life, which I think is a positive thing to do, not everybody is – and I am not always – but it’s the most positive thing to do, then you have to be grateful for all of it. You can’t pick and choose what you’re grateful for.”

Colbert continued: “So, what do you get from loss? You get awareness of other people’s loss, which allows you to connect with that other person, which allows you to love more deeply and to understand what it’s like to be a human being, if it’s true that all humans suffer.”

Colbert practiced what he preached and reached out to Cooper after his mother died in June, following a battle with stomach cancer. 

In a letter, Colbert hoped for Cooper to “find peace in your grief.”

Cooper said those people who have opened up about their loss have helped him immensely.

“I found it to be the most powerful and moving thing, and I kind of, oddly, don’t want that to stop, because in regular times people don’t do that.”

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With that, Cooper brought up the death of Colbert’s dad and brothers, sharing how impacted he was by his own father’s passing.  

“For me, losing my dad then, it changed the trajectory of my life,” said Cooper. “I’m a different person than I feel like I was meant to be.”

“I was personally shattered, and then you kind of reform yourself in this quiet grieving world that was created in the house,” Colbert said, adding that he felt a sense of responsibility for his mother. “It became a very quiet house and very dark, and ordinary concerns of childhood suddenly kind of disappeared. I became – I won’t say mature because that actually was kind of delayed by the death of my father… but I had, certainly, a different point of view than the children around me.” 

Cooper revealed that he turned into what he lightheartedly refers to as “catastrophist.”

“I did not want to be surprised and hurt again, so I started sort of plunging head first into things that scared me most.”

Cooper shared the depths he felt his mother’s loss during a June broadcast of his CNN program, while present a moving tribute.

“I never realized until now how much she was my north star, (and) things seem a lot less bright and magical without her,” he said. “My dad died when I was ten, 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.” 

Contributing: Maeve McDermott

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