Bradley Cooper's dad died in his arms. Then "everything, everything" changed.

In 2011, Bradley Cooper‘s star was on the rise.

The actor had just finished filming The Hangover 2 – the second movie in the franchise that made him a household name.

Once filming wrapped up, he immediately flew home to spend time with his terminally ill father, Charles, who had lung cancer.

The pair went to an Eagles game together and spent countless hours in each other’s company.

Two weeks later, his dad took his final breath as Cooper held him in his arms.


“It’s a new reality,” Cooper told The New York Times of life after his father’s death.

“Everything, everything. It’s not even one thing, it’s a whole new world. And it was instantaneous. It wasn’t like, months later. It was like, his last exhale, and I was holding him, and it was like, everything changed.”

Cooper now speaks openly about his own experience and works with the charity Stand Up 2 Cancer to support families in similar circumstances who need financial and emotional aid.

“I just want to tell you about my father Charles J. Cooper, he passed away from lung cancer in 2011,” Cooper said in a speech in April 2016 at the Parker Foundation’s launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

“I was in a very lucky position because I was able to put everything on hold in all aspects of my life and completely focus on taking care of him.”

Despite his circumstances, Cooper said the experience was still “just simply overwhelming, incredibly stressful, complex and all consuming”.

“I can’t even imagine how much more difficult it is for those patients and the families that are less fortunate than I was that simply can’t afford to pay for both treatment and rent,” he added.

Cooper said the loss of his dad also impacted on the roles he chose to take on. He suddenly only wanted to do his best work.

By 2015, he knew he was ready for A Star Is Born.

“Honestly,” he told the New York Times. “I could see it on my face. I just felt it.”