- Written by Nathan Williams
- BBC News
A family member has announced that Madonna’s older brother, Anthony Ciccone, has passed away at the age of 66.
Ciccone was one of the star’s seven siblings and is said to have passed away on Friday night.
He had struggled with alcoholism and was reported to have been homeless for many years, at one point living under a bridge.
His brother-in-law, Joe Henry, posted the news on Instagram, writing that he “got off this plane of earth,” along with an old black-and-white photo of him.
“I’ve known him since I was 15, in the spring of our lives in Michigan, so many years have passed,” wrote singer-songwriter Henry, who is married to Madonna’s sister, Melanie Ciccone.
The cause of his death has not been revealed.
Madonna hasn’t publicly commented on Ciccone’s death, but the pop star loved Joe Henry’s Instagram post that broke the news.
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Madonna grew up in Detroit, Michigan with Anthony and her other siblings. While she moved to New York in 1978 to pursue a career in dance and music, Ciccone remained in Michigan.
They lost their mother to breast cancer in 1963 when they were young children.
Henry’s brother-in-law wrote in an Instagram post that Ciccone was a “complex character”.
“God knows best: we intertwined in moments, as true brothers can.
“But I loved him, and understood him better than I was sometimes willing to part with him. Troubles pass away; and family remains—with my hands stretched across the table. Farewell, then, Brother Anthony.”
“I want to believe that the God in whom your blessed mother (and me) believed in her has believed in her there, waiting to receive you. At least today, no one will dissuade me from this vision.”
Ciccone became estranged from his family and attacked their ex, accusing them of not caring for him.
“I’m zero in their eyes — I’m not a person. I’m embarrassed,” he told the Daily Mail in 2011.
“If I freeze to death, my family probably won’t know or care about it for six months.”
Later, in 2017, it was reported that he had completed a rehabilitation program and reconnected with his family.
“Lifelong beer expert. General travel enthusiast. Social media buff. Zombie maven. Communicator.”