"I got the opportunity to tell him that I love him."
He credited John Singleton with kick-starting his career with "Boyz In The Hood".
The actor became emotional as he recalled rushing to the hospital immediately after learning of his fatal stroke, where he got to say his final goodbyes to the 51-year-old, who by that time had slipped into a coma from which he would never awaken.
"I was with John when he passed," he told us in New York, "in the hospital, he was already in a coma when we got there."
"But I got the opportunity to tell him that I love him, and to thank him for starting my career, and Omar Gooding's career, my brother who was in 'Baby Boy'."
Cuba pointed out that both he and John, as well as fellow "Boyz In The Hood" co-star Morris Chestnut, were all born within six days of each other, between January 1 and 6, 1968. "We were like three guys starting our careers on that movie, I'll always love him for that."
He recalled the last thing Singleton ever said to him, after Cuba joined the musical "Chicago" last year. "He gave me a hug and kiss, and said 'I didn't know you could sing'," he remembered, laughing. "If I'd've known that was my last time I would've held on a little longer."
The Oscar-winner said he 100% encourages people re-making Singleton's films. "When you die, you leave memories. That's all we leave, are memories. If you've done something creative, let people experience it."
When asked if he would ever play Singleton in a film, he had a better suggestion: His son Mason Gooding, who makes his big screen debut this weekend in Olivia Wilde's "Booksmart".
"He's brilliant in it," Cuba exclaimed. "He's my new and improved model."
Cuba concluded by explaining how he would continue Singleton's legacy: "By doing good work, telling more stories. He's still got one brother left."