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Nicolas Cage’s mother, Joy Vogelsang, died last month at the age of 85.
The actor’s brother, Christopher Coppola, announced the sad news on his Facebook page at the time, sharing that Vogelsang, a former modern dancer, died on May 26. A rep for Cage could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I was with her all day but left for a couple hours and missed her passing by a couple hours so wasn’t able to hold her hand to give her my love and affection before her journey to peace land,” he wrote, alongside a photo of his mom from when she was young.
Christopher went on to detail the lessons he learned from her, despite her “very hard life with mental health issues.”
“In all of that painful emotional chaos she still managed to teach me something super important,” he wrote. “My mama lioness told me, her middle son cub, that I was affectionate. I was very embarrassed by the term affection. I thought it was a bad thing, a something to laugh at thing.”
He continued, “Mama lioness looked at me deeply and said affection was a good thing and don’t let others embarrass me for being naturally affectionate. My fellow classmates told me, laughed at me, told me affection was a stupid thing, a make fun of thing. I was angry at my mama for putting me in that situation, a situation that made me feel more weird than I already did.”
“She held me and told me softly that affection was a good thing and one day I may understand or not but I should always remember I was her affectionate cub,” his story concluded. “Life has nulled my innocence like it does for a lot of us but my mama died at 10:33pm 5/26 tonight.”
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Vogelsang shared Cage and Christopher, as well as son Marc, with August Coppola, the brother of famed director Francis Ford Coppola. The pair wed in 1960 before splitting in 1976 when Cage was 12, according to his 1996 interview with David Sheff, published in Playboy.
At the time, Cage shared that his mother was “plagued with mental illness for most of my childhood” but credited her as “the driving force in my creativity.”
“She was institutionalised for years and went through shock treatments. She would go into these states that lasted for years. She went through these episodes of poetry – I don’t know what else to call it,” he said. “She would say the most amazing things, beautiful but scary. I’m sure they had an impact on me.”
Cage added: “The strangest thing about it is that, even when things got really bizarre, I was able to detach and look at it with a scientific curiosity.”
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In his Facebook post last month, Christopher said he learned the meaning of “affection” from her.
“I believe only a mama can truly teach that,” he wrote. “It’s not love thy neighbor. It’s smaller yet bigger. Shake one’s hand with tenderness and meaning. Don’t let your mind wander while you hug someone. And, and your kiss should definitely be sincere and in the moment…if it is not, well, that adds to hell on earth.”