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Joe Biden Remembers Late Son Beau Biden in Emotional Interview With Stephen Colbert

Joe and Beau Biden
Vice President Joe Biden got choked up while remembering his late son, Beau -- who passed away from brain cancer this past spring -- on Stephen Colbert's Late Show.  PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Biden’s boy Beau for life. Vice President Joe Biden got choked up while remembering his late son, Beau — who passed away from brain cancer this past spring — on Stephen Colbert‘s Late Show on Thursday, Sept. 10.

In a rare interview with the VP, Colbert, 51, noted how Biden has dealt with his fair share of tragedy throughout his political career, including the loss of his first wife, Neilla, and their infant daughter in a car crash in 1972. More recently, in May, his eldest son Beau succumbed to brain cancer. The Late Show host offered up his condolences, and said he suspected that millions of Americans also shared his sentiments.

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Looking down and closing his eyes, Biden, 72, thanked Colbert and shared stories about Beau. 

“My father had an expression and he said, ‘You know your success is apparent when you look at your child and realize that they turned out better than you.’ I was a hell of a success, and my son was better than me. He was better than me in almost every way.” 

Beau survived the car crash that killed his mom and sister, though he was badly injured. His father recalled how his son never once complained — even in the year before his death at age 46.

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“The couple months before he died, I was at his house, and he said, ‘Dad, sit down. I want to talk to you… Dad, I know how much you love me. So you’ve got to promise me something: Promise me you’re gonna be alright. Because I’m gonna be alright.'”

Biden shared that his son had an “enormous amount of empathy,” and that his faith has helped him heal through the pain of losing his son. The VP also said he was slightly embarrassed about all of the attention.

joe and stephen colbert
Joe Biden and Stephen Colbert CBS

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“So many people have losses as severe or maybe worse than mine and didn’t have the incredible support I have,” he reflected. “I feel self-conscious. The loss is serious and it’s consequential, but there are so many other people going through this. For me, my wife [Jill Biden] when she wants to leave me messages, she literally tapes them on my mirror when I’m shaving… [including a Soren Kierkegaard quote] ‘Faith sees best in the dark.’ For me, my religion is an enormous sense of solace.”

Biden said he was drawn to those who’ve experienced tragedy and “absorbed pain.” That includes Colbert, who lost his dad and two of his brothers when he was 10. “You’re one of them, buddy,” Biden told the show host. “Your mom, your family, losing your dad when you’re a kid. Three brothers. What made your mother do it every day?”

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“She had to take care of me,” Colbert replied. “And I had to take care of her… I would say that I raised my mom from that in a few years. In what ways did Beau and Hunter raise you?”

Watch their emotional moment together above.

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