As the death of Angus Cloud sent a shockwave through the entertainment industry, fans and critics wrote heartbreaking testimonials about the 25-year-old “Euphoria” actor, saying he could have been a great “unconventional leading man” and a global fashion icon whose beauty was both unusual and “transcendent.”
For those in Cloud’s hometown of Oakland, the loss was felt much more personally and profoundly. From staff and students at the Oakland School for the Arts, from which he graduated, to other local artists, people remembered him as one of the phenomenally gifted Oakland natives to make it big, as well as someone always happy to return home and support the community that nurtured his talent.
“The first time we met him this past Friday, at our record release celebration, he gave us our support,” said D.Bledsoe, a member of the rap collective MacArthur Maze, about Cloud’s last public appearance last week. Cloud attended the release party for the collective’s new album, “Blvck Saturday,” at the Torch Lounge on San Pablo Avenue.
“He wasn’t making the night about him, but he came there to show his love, which was really admirable,” D.Bledsoe said. “It was a blessing that someone of his status came out to celebrate our new work.”
Members of MacArthur Maze also appreciated that Cloud gave them a shout-out on his Instagram on July 18, directing his 7.3 million followers to watch a video of their track, “Thank You Have a Nice Day.” Cloud got to know the collective’s music through his childhood friend, Josh Kennedy, who serves as their photographer.
At the party, Kennedy shot multiple photos of his friend at the party, smiling and looking like he was in good spirits. He told The Sun that he was stunned to receive a call on Monday, learning that his friend was dead.
Oakland police, who are investigating Cloud’s death Monday morning, have not released information on how he may have died. In a 911 call at 11:30 a.m. Monday, a woman believed to be Cloud’s mother reported a “possible overdose” and said her son didn’t have a pulse, TMZ reported. Oakland police said Cloud was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cloud’s family said in a statement Monday that he had had long been open about his mental health struggles, while Cloud’s former manager, in a since-deleted Twitter thread, alleged that he was was battling “a severe” drug addiction that led to a stint in rehab, as well as relapses, a prior overdose and struggles to stay sober.
Cloud’s family also revealed that he had been in despair over the loss of his father, Conor Hickey, who died from cancer in May. Cloud recently returned from his father’s native Ireland, where he, his mother and two younger sisters traveled to hold several memorial ceremonies to spread Hickey’s ashes, the Daily Mail reported. However, a family friend told the Daily Mail that Cloud was “too traumatized” and in “too fragile” a state of mind to join his family for one of the ceremonies that took place at a family farm.
Kennedy acknowledged his friend’s addiction in an interview with The Sun and said “he’s been through a lot,” suggesting that some of his issues predated him becoming a star playing the kind-hearted drug dealer Fez on the hit teen series “Euphoria.” Kennedy also suggested that his friend liked coming back to Oakland as much as possible, in large part because people didn’t treat him like a celebrity.
On its Facebook page, the Oakland School for the Arts offered its “deepest condolences” to Cloud’s family and friends. The school remembered him “as a multifaceted and talented artist in instrumental music, digital media and production design who had a huge presence at OSA.” The school’s post is noteworthy in that Cloud told the New York Times in 2022 that he didn’t act at all while in high school school, but instead focused on building sets and doing lighting and sound for its theater productions.
Acting suddenly became a possibility when he was discovered in 2018, while working as a waiter in New York City, he told the Times. A Hollywood talent Scott spotted him walking down the street in Greenwich Village and brought him to the attention of “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson. Cloud’s talent and appear stood out enough that Levinson made him a co-star in the series, alongside future Emmy Award winner Zendaya, who also grew up in Oakland and attended the Oakland School for the Arts.
The school also praised Cloud for his skateboarding. Two weeks before his death, Cloud shared a nostalgic photo of when he spent time as a boy in the skateboard community at historic DeFremery Park in West Oakland. In his Instagram post, Cloud tagged local artist and arts educator Keith “K-Dub” Williams, who is known as the “godfather” of the Oakland skateboarding community for transforming the space, known as Town Park, into destination for youth and adults of all ages and skill levels, Huck magazine reported in 2015.
In his post, Cloud referred to Williams as his “godfather” and “Oakland royalty.” Following Cloud’s death, Williams paid tribute to his young friend, sharing a photo on Instagram of Cloud as a boy in a Town Park hoodie. He wrote, “You are loved by many.”
Cloud recently celebrated his hometown in another way, by working on the upcoming film, “Freaky Tales,” which is based on the childhood memories of “Captain Marvel” co-director Ryan Fleck, who was born in Berkeley and grew up in Berkeley and Oakland, according to Deadline. The film is set in Oakland in 1987 and is comprised of four interconnected stories, each featuring real-life locations and some historical events. Cloud co-stars in the film with Pedro Pascal, Ben Mendelsohn and Jack Champion, while Grammy-winning Oakland native Raphael Saadiq oversees the film’s music.
Fleck, who co-wrote and -directed “Freaky Tales” with his regular collaborator Anna Boden, took time to remember Cloud on Monday. On his Instagram, he shared a photo of the young actor, laughing on the set with Pascal.
📸 | Novo registro de Angus Cloud e Pedro Pascal no set de filmagens do filme “Freaky Tales”, em 2022. A foto foi compartilhada pelo diretor Ryan Fleck em seu Instagram. pic.twitter.com/rokRPezozS
— Pedro Pascal News Brasil (@PedroPascalNews) August 1, 2023
Fleck captioned the photo: “Despite the smiles, this was actually one of the most intense days I’ve ever had on a movie set. Angus was breath of fresh air and always down to try anything. A true joy to work with. I didn’t know him long but I’ll miss him dearly.”
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