HBO Paid for Euphoria Star Angus Cloud’s Rehab Before His Death

Series creator Sam Levinson says he twice scrapped plans to kill off Cloud’s character amidst the actor’s addiction struggles: “I just thought, if this goes away, I don’t know what’s going to happen in his life.”
Angus Cloud
Jeff Kravitz

For the first time since Angus Cloud’s sudden death in July at age 25, those close to him, including his mother, Lisa, and Euphoria’s creator Sam Levinson, shared details about his final days and addiction struggles with People.

On HBO’s Euphoria, which was partly informed by Levinson’s own substance abuse issues, Cloud played Fezco—a softhearted drug dealer who was fueling the addiction of Zendaya’s Rue despite their tight-knit friendship. “Angus was supposed to die at the end of the first season, but I loved him so fucking much,” Levinson told People. “The first thing I noticed about him was he had those Paul Newman eyes . . . and his audition tape where he said that his name was Angus Cloud and he’s ‘five foot 12.’ It killed me. He was perfect. I think part of the problem is I would sometimes put actors ahead of the show at times. So I was like, ‘Okay, I can’t kill him because then what is he to look forward to?’”

Lilita, a close friend of Cloud’s, recalled that the pair smoked weed together after he completed filming his first scene with Zendaya—something Levinson didn’t know about at the time. “I would have kicked him off the set if he was smoking weed,” he told the outlet. Cloud’s mother said her son began using drugs after a head injury in 2013 and that he sustained another injury to his heel during the pandemic, which left him briefly reliant on a cane. He resisted treatment and turned to substances instead.

“I looked him in the eye and I knew that he wasn’t doing well,” Levinson said of Cloud prior to production on Euphoria’s second season. “At the same time I’ve been in these situations before where you’re trying to get someone clean. And 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.’”

According to People, HBO paid for Cloud’s 30-day in-patient rehab program, which was followed by three more months of outpatient treatment. “I could always feel that he didn’t want [sobriety] as much as we all wanted it for him,” Levinson told People. “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. But you can’t give up on people. I wasn’t going to let anyone give up on him.”

Cloud began using drugs again partway through production. After filming the season’s fifth episode, in which Fezco physically stops Rue from stealing pills in his home, Levinson and his wife Ashley drove Cloud back to rehab. The actor was wearing Rue’s red hoodie from the show and at one point remarked on the irony. “Oh, shit, I feel just like Rue,” Levinson recalls Cloud saying, to which the creator replied, “All right, well, do us a favor and don’t run [as the character does in the show].”

Once again, Cloud’s Fezco was meant to die in Euphoria’s season two finale, but when Levinson told the actor, “I could just see the blood kind of run out of his face. I think the hardest thing is when you have addiction issues—it’s about finding your purpose and finding your meaning in life,” he said. “The one thing that I knew is he loved making this show. He loved the crew. He loved the actors. He loved everything about it. And I just thought, if this goes away, I don’t know what’s going to happen in his life.”

Levinson decided against killing Fezco, instead having the character’s younger brother Ashtray (Javon Walton) shot in a police raid. “I can’t do it. I can’t kill him. We got to keep him around. He’s too special,” Levinson recalled telling his producing partners. “It doesn’t matter what the fucking story is.”

Once filming on season two wrapped, Levinson said he and Cloud had a four-hour conversation about maintaining sobriety for season three. “No, no, I’m good. I’m good,” Levinson said Cloud told him. But the showrunner didn’t think Cloud was telling the truth. “I could tell, at that time, it was like he wasn’t interested. He wasn’t going to do anything, and yeah, he didn’t want it.”

Last week, the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau ruled that Cloud’s death was caused by acute intoxication following an accidental overdose and that the actor had ingested cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and benzodiazepines.