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Friends and family mourn the death of Angus Cloud, the well-loved star of 'Euphoria'

Angus Cloud made a deep impression on viewers and his fellow actors, in a TV and film career that was still rising. He's seen here last fall, attending a dinner at the Strand Bookstore in New York City.
Monica Schipper
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Getty Images for Bottega Veneta
Angus Cloud made a deep impression on viewers and his fellow actors, in a TV and film career that was still rising. He's seen here last fall, attending a dinner at the Strand Bookstore in New York City.

Updated August 2, 2023 at 10:16 AM ET

Angus Cloud, whose portrayal of a sensitive drug dealer on HBO's Euphoria endeared him to viewers and was paving the way for a promising film career, died on Monday in Oakland, Calif., according to his family and colleagues.

Cloud was pronounced dead after being found in his family's home. No cause of death was announced. His family noted that he struggled with mental health and was mourning his father, Conor Hickey, who reportedly died in May. Hickey was recently buried in his native Ireland.

"Last week he buried his father and intensely struggled with this loss," Cloud's family said in a statement cited by The Associated Press. "The only comfort we have is knowing Angus is now reunited with his dad, who was his best friend. Angus was open about his battle with mental health and we hope that his passing can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight this on their own in silence."

The ginger-haired Cloud quickly made the character of Fezco "Fez" O'Neill a fan favorite on Euphoria, playing the laconic drug dealer who wants his friend Rue Bennett (Zendaya) to stop using drugs, even as he copes with a raft of his own problems.

Cloud's friends and fellow actors are mourning him

"Words are not enough to describe the infinite beauty that is Angus (Conor). I'm so grateful I got the chance to know him in this life, to call him a brother, to see his warm kind eyes and bright smile, or hear his infectious cackle of a laugh," Euphoria star Zendaya wrote on Instagram.

"I know people use this expression often when talking about folks they love...'they could light up any room they entered' but boy let me tell you, he was the best at it. I'd like to remember him that way. For all of the boundless light, love and joy he always managed to give us. I'll cherish every moment."

"He was kind and gracious and so unique. You couldn't take your eyes off him, on film or on set," fellow Euphoria cast member Paula Marshall said in a statement to People magazine.

Javon "Wanna" Walton, who played Ashtray, Fez's little brother on Euphoria, posted a photo of the two of them hugging, with the tag line, "rest easy brother."

Storm Reid, who plays Rue's younger sister Gia, shared a video clip from Euphoria of Cloud's Fez getting emotional as the song "Stand by Me" plays.

"The tears just won't stop," Reid wrote on her Instagram Story.

Cloud shot from obscurity to fame

Cloud came to his most famous role after a casting director spotted him in New York City. He said he was initially dubious at the idea of being "discovered," suspecting some type of scam. But when Cloud realized what kind of role the show's producers had in mind for him, things started to make more sense.

"Because in my mind I was like, they stopped me because I look like I could be a star?" he said in an interview with i-D. "Then I'm like, no, it's because I look like I could be a drug dealer."

After his success made him recognizable in public, Cloud talked about how his own personality and experiences are vastly different from Fez's. But his fans might be forgiven for thinking they both share the same low-key cool.

After all, who else could cause a stir by popping up at a show at New York Fashion Week, sitting in the front row next to Megan Thee Stallion — and contentedly munching on a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos?

"I didn't know that that was something that anyone would think twice about," Cloud told i-D, after a massive fan reaction. "I was just having a snack at the show."

But as video of the event showed, Cloud was also thoughtful: When he proffered his snack to his seatmates, they dug right in.

Then there was the TikTok video of Cloud waiting tables during brunch in Brooklyn, shortly before getting his big break. The short clip, in which Cloud calmly retrieves used plates while women dance behind him, went viral.

When Cloud was asked about the clip at Vanity Fair's Oscars party, he was predictably unfazed.

"I was a lot of people's ... bus boy, waiter, server, you know what I mean, in all shapes and forms," he said. Asked what that earlier version of himself might say if he could see himself now, he replied with a laugh, "Damn, what you doing over there, man? That's wild. Where'd you get that suit at?"

After his breakout success on one of HBO's most-watched shows, Cloud, who attended the Oakland School for the Arts in California, found roles in movies, from 2021's North Hollywood to this year's The Line. Other projects include Your Lucky Day and Freaky Tales — a film set in Oakland and starring Pedro Pascal.

In a statement about Cloud's passing, HBO shared condolences with his friends and family.

"He was immensely talented and a beloved part of the HBO and Euphoria family," the company said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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