In “Euphoria,” actor Angus Cloud played a soft-spoken drug dealer who knew when to cut off his desperate clientele. Off-screen, however, he struggled with his own drug addiction that impacted his time on the hit HBO series.
Months after Cloud died of an accidental overdose at age 25 in late July, “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson told People how he and the show’s team supported the actor amid his battle with addiction. “I looked him in the eye and I knew that he wasn’t doing well.
“I just said to him, ‘I love working with you and we’ve got this amazing season planned and stuff, but I need you to be sober because I got to be able to rely on you,’” Levinson said.
Cloud’s drug use began years before he broke out as dealer Fezco opposite Zendaya‘s Rue in “Euphoria.” In 2013, the actor broke his skull by falling into a construction pit. He underwent surgery and was prescribed opioids for the pain. He frequently experienced “fierce” headaches as a result, his mother, Lisa Cloud, told People.
“I mean, there were [other] things that may have worked, but he never did any of them. And when you have that much pain, you just want relief,” she said.
Cloud, who also discreetly smoked weed on set during his early “Euphoria” days, then reportedly injured his heel in between seasons while trying to outrun Los Angeles police when he was caught tagging. He started using a cane to walk — but refused treatment.
“That’s really what started his drug-seeking behavior, I think,” Lisa Cloud told People. “It was hugely painful.”
In the early stages of Season 2, Levinson pulled Angus Cloud aside and encouraged him to go to rehab. People reported that HBO paid for the actor’s treatment, a 30-day in-patient program.
“I could always feel that he didn’t want [sobriety] as much as we all wanted it for him,” Levinson said. “That’s where it gets tricky because the whole world can want it for you. But he didn’t want it. It’s just the self-destructive side of addiction and it outweighs everything.”
Cloud fell back into drug use later in Season 2 production, and Levinson (whose experiences with addiction inspired “Euphoria”) held a second intervention. “You’ve got to get help and you’ve got to get help now.”
According to People, Levinson changed the script multiple times to keep Cloud’s character alive — despite initial plans to kill him off. At the end of the season, Cloud started using again. When urged to get sober for an the next season, Cloud was not interested, Levinson said.
Months after “Euphoria” Season 2 ended in February, Cloud’s father, Conor Hickey died in May. The actor missed the July funeral in Ireland “because he was too high,” People reported.
After returning to the United States from the funeral, Angus Cloud was “grief-stricken” and turned to drugs.
“His dad’s death isn’t responsible for his, but he clearly couldn’t cope,” Lisa Cloud said.
She recalled finding the actor slumped over at his desk and unresponsive in July. She urged a neighbor to call 911 “because I didn’t want to leave him” until the fire department arrived. He was determined to be dead on arrival.
A week after her son’s death, Lisa Cloud wrote on Facebook that he “did not intend to end his life.”
The Alameda County Coroner‘s Bureau confirmed last week that Cloud died of an accidental overdose. He suffered acute intoxication from a combination of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and benzodiazepines, according to the coroner.
“He went out at his total power, his total beauty, his total influence, and the reaction that everyone has had is very moving to me,” Lisa Cloud told People. “You know, he’s not just an actor who overdosed. He was a beautiful soul, and that’s why people miss him so much.”
Angus Cloud was cremated at the Chapel of Chimes in his hometown of Oakland. The Oakland School for the Arts, which Cloud and co-star Zendaya attended, has created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for a skate park in Cloud’s honor.