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What really happened when Eric Clapton's 4-year-old son died in 1991

What really happened when Eric Clapton's 4-year-old son died in 1991

A new biography has shed light on the tragedy of the death of music legend Eric Clapton’s young son in 1991.

It was supposed to be the start of a new beginning on the fateful day when music legend Eric Clapton’s young son sadly died in 1991 – he was only four years old.

But the tragic moment instead became the inspiration for two of the artist’s iconic songs.

Clapton, now 73 years old, had Conor with Italian actress Lory del Santo who had custody of their son, and only the day prior to Conor’s death had taken him on a special day out to the circus at Long Island.

According to the biography Slowhand: The Life And Music Of Eric Clapton, by Philip Norman, an excerpt of which has been published in the Daily Mail, it was the first time the acclaimed guitarist had taken his son out by himself.

Clapton “intended to be a proper father,” writes Norman.

The next morning, as Clapton was due to arrive to pick up Conor for another day out, this time to the Bronx Zoo and lunch at an Italian restaurant, tragedy struck.

Conor was running around the 53rd apartment in the New York high-raise his mother shared with Italian film producer Silvio Sardi, excited to see his “papa.”

A janitor had been working on the windows in the living room but one was still open recounts Norman.

“He called out to the nanny to watch the child, but before she could react, Conor dashed past her, jumped up on to the low window-ledge where he’d normally press his nose against the glass to gaze out – and disappeared,” he wrote. 

The four-year-old tragically fell to his death.

Clapton wrote his iconic chart-toppers Circus Left Town and Tears in Heaven in response to the devastating accident, the deeply emotional lyrics from the latter some of the most well-known in classic music:

“Would you know my name/ If I saw you in heaven?/ Would it be the same / If I saw you in heaven? / I must be strong and carry on / 'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.”

Two days before Clapton’s 46th birthday, he said goodbye to Conor at his son’s funeral.

Clapton once descried his son as “the one thing in my life that good could come out of.”