Actor Chris Cooper was in mourning yesterday (05JAN04) following the death of his 17-year-old son JESSE from causes relating to cerebral palsy.

Copper and his offspring's actress mother MARIANNE LEONE have been tireless advocates for special needs kids in the Boston area of Massachusetts since moving there in 1994, believing the state had more progressive educational opportunities for children with cerebral palsy.

Jesse's condition was so severe, his parents had to prepare him special meals, employ tutors and therapists, and attend to him several times during the course of a night.

In response to the tragic news, family spokeswoman CARA TRIPICCHIO says, "They are fantastic people and our hearts go out to them. It's very, very unfortunate."

At the time of Jesse's death, the couple were in pre-production on CONQUISTADORA, a film written by Leone about the brain disorder.

06/01/2005 02:53