"In the end, after all else is stripped away, there is only love," Cooper captioned a series of beautiful black-and-white shots of the late artist. "My mom believed in love more than anyone. 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," he continued. "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."
Following the news of Vanderbilt's death on Monday, CNN aired a eulogy that was narrated by Cooper. In the nearly seven-minute video, Cooper spoke about his mother's life in the public eye, along with her personal and professional successes, unmatchable zest for life and the legacy she leaves behind.
"Over the course of her life, my mom was photographed by all the great photographers. She worked as a painter, a writer, an actress and designer. If you were around in the early 1980s, it was pretty hard to miss the jeans she helped create. But that was her public face, the one she learned to hide behind as a child. Her private self, her real self, that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public," Cooper explained. "I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who'd come from a distant star that burned out long ago. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her. She was the strongest person I've ever met, but she wasn't tough. She never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life's pleasures, its pains as well."