Eric Clapton Spent A Year As An Island Recluse Grieving Infant Son Who Fell 53 Stories To His Death


Eric Clapton opened up in an interview about his grief after his son fell to his death from a New York skyscraper in 1991.

He revealed that after the accident, he fled to Antigua and isolated himself from the outside world to write songs for a year to “heal” himself, U.K. Daily Mail reported.

“I had this little Spanish string guitar, I became attached to that I went off to Antigua and I rented a little cottage there in a community and I just swatted mosquitos all day and played this guitar and stayed there for almost a whole year, without much contact with the outside world, and I tried to heal myself,” the musical legend said.

Clapton was talking to Liz Barnes for Planet Rock about the documentary “Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars,” based on his life.

His son Conor died on March 20, 1991. A cleaner had accidentally left a window open in the Manhattan flat Lory Del Santo, the boy’s mother, had rented and the four year old fell 53 stories out of the window.

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“I brought him home from New York with all of the Italian side of his mother’s family and we went through the process of the funeral,” Clapton recalled.

The guitarist received a love letter from his four-year-old in the mail mere hours after the child’s funeral.

“The baby had learned to write a few words and he said to me, ‘Oh mummy, I want to write a letter to daddy, what shall I write?'” Del Santo recalled. “I told him, ‘Well, write, I love you.’ He wrote that and we posted it like a regular letter.”

The Italian model said that Clapton’s reaction to receiving the letter after his son’s death was “a moment I cannot forget.”

After the funeral and receipt of the letter, Clapton rented a cottage in Antigua where he stayed for almost a year, according to Daily Mail.

“All I could do was play and write these songs and I re-wrote and re-performed them again and again and again and again until I felt like I had made some sort of move towards the surface of my being,” he said. “And then I was able to come out.”

Clapton’s song “Tears in Heaven” was dedicated to Conor. It went on to win three Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Performance Male, Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

In an interview with BBC, Clapton revealed that he is going deaf, but plans to keep performing.

“The only thing I’m concerned with now is being in my seventies and being able to be proficient. I mean, I’m going deaf, I’ve got tinnitus, my hands just about work,” he said, according to the Rolling Stone. “I’m hoping that people will come along and see me just because, or maybe more than because I’m a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it’s amazing to myself I’m still here.”

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Clapton admitted that the documentary was hard for him to watch because it focused on “the difficult part of my life,” but also shows “there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I think it’s important to see that it’s a happy ending, it’s like a redemption concept,” he said. “If you’re gonna go and see it, be prepared for a heavy ride.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith