By Gil Kaufman / May 04, 2009
David Cook often paid tribute to his older brother while on "American Idol." On Sunday morning, just one day after Adam Cook, 37, died following a decade-long battle with brain cancer, the season-seven winner honored his brother again, serving as grand marshal at the 12th annual Race for Hope 5K run in Washington, D.C.
"I actually lost my brother yesterday to a brain tumor, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else right now," Cook, 26, told the crowd at the benefit for brain-cancer research while choking up a bit, according to People magazine. "I lost one today, but I gained 9,000, and I will be here every year that they will have me." Adam Cook, a married father and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, died on Saturday while undergoing another round of chemotherapy to treat the deadly disease, which had reportedly spread to his spine.
Cook stood in the rain on Sunday morning addressing the race's 9,000 participants and broke the news about his brother, whose initials the singer had prominently placed on his guitar during his run on last year's show. Adam was able to come out and see his brother perform Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" on "Idol" last season, after residents from the brothers' hometown raised more than $45,000 to pay for Adam to travel on a private plane with a nurse to attend the show. Cook canceled a pair of concerts in March to go home and spend time with Adam. He also wrote a song, "A DailyAntheM," in honor of his brother for his debut album.
"David is beyond the most courageous young person I have ever known," said Jeff Kolodin, co-chair of the charity race, which benefits the National Brain Tumor Society and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, according to People. Cook's team was the top fundraiser for the annual event, totaling more than $98,000 in pledges out of the race's total $2 million.
"What he did this morning when he was dealing with the most raw emotion was incredible," Kolodin said. "He talked to 9,000 people in a pouring rainstorm today. No one knew his brother had died, but he publicly said to everyone at the race, 'I do have some bad news.' The crowd went pretty much silent and people were crying." Kolodin said Cook spent the rest of the day "hugging survivors, signing autographs for them, taking pictures."
The race co-chair praised Cook for sharing a very private moment with a group of strangers. "He was willing to put his personal, raw emotion out there, knowing he was being filmed," he said. "He's a heck of a person." A post on Cook's Web site said an official announcement from the singer about Adam's death would likely be coming soon.
"Idol" judge Paula Abdul told People that Adam Cook was part of the show's "extended family," saying he "supported his brother wholeheartedly, even through his own fight. My heart goes out not only to David, but his family as well."
Fellow judge Simon Cowell also had kind words for the family, telling the magazine, "I was incredibly saddened to hear the news. I met Adam Cook a few times at 'American Idol.' He was an incredible guy, and right now my thoughts are with David and his family." Cook's followers also expressed their condolences on his official site. "May all of the love you have for Adam reflect back to you from heaven," Janet wrote.
Another fan, xodcfobxo, shared a story about seeing Cook at Sunday's race: "I was at the race today, and the pain in David's eyes when he was telling us about Adam was so heartbreaking, all I could do was cry. I am just glad there were so many fans there for him in his time of need, and that there will continue to be fans and loved ones to help him through this incredibly difficult time. All my thoughts and prayers go out to David, his friends and family."