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Eric Clapton
Seth Wenig  /  AP file
Eric Clapton says that he has little memory of the details after his son's death. “It becomes like someone else's life in a movie," he said.
Access Hollywood
updated 10/11/2007 8:57:32 PM ET 2007-10-12T00:57:32

Eric Clapton won a Grammy for his poignant tribute to his four-year-old son Connor, who died tragically in Manhattan in 1991 after falling out of a window of a high-rise building. “Access Hollywood’s” Tony Potts sat down with Clapton, who in his book “Clapton: The Autobiography,” recalled that horrific day.

“You know, it’s incomprehensible,” Clapton told Potts. “I think there is an area around my grief that’s almost like — no personnel allowed in there, you know? I mean, it’s just a shut door.”

“How did you manage that?” Potts asked Clapton.

“I went into shock,” Clapton said. “It felt like I shut down and consequently, I have a very scant memory of doing those things where I had to go to the hospital where his body was. Then I had to go to the morgue and then I had to go to the undertaker to deal with the undertakers.

“I remember walking up to the Galleria where they were staying, where he fell,” Clapton continued, “And from then on it becomes like someone else’s life in a movie.”

When the tragedy occurred, Clapton was just three years sober, after battling drug and alcohol abuse for over a decade.

“I probably would have killed myself if I were actually a practicing alcoholic at the time of his death,” Clapton said. “Who knows what would have happened? I wouldn’t be here now. I doubt I would have survived that.”

“With all that going on, how did you not relapse?” Potts asked.

“(It) never occurred to me,” he replied. “Maybe one of the reasons was that it besmirched his memory. I had a good reason to honor his memory and (stay) sober and (try) to do the best that I could to carry a message of that nature to other people.”

In Clapton’s new book, the famed musician wrote that he poured himself into his music, honoring his son with several songs, most notably, “Tears In Heaven.”

“Was that the toughest song you ever wrote or did it just come out?” Potts asked.

“The writing of the song is the therapy. The toughness is doing nothing,” Clapton responded. “From the time where everyone said goodbye to one another at the funeral and I was left at home — from that time to the time the song was finished, it was harder if I didn’t play the guitar. Playing the guitar was actually the solution. The tough part was actually being in the knowledge and the moment of what happened.”

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