Madonna's Brother Has Died

Anthony Ciccone, Madonna's eldest brother, has died. He was 66. Joe Henry, who is married to Madonna's younger sister Melanie Ciccone, shared the news on Instagram. Henry did not share a cause of death for his brother-in-law.

"My brother-in-law, Anthony Gerard Ciccone, exited this earthly plane last evening," Henry wrote on Feb. 25. "I've known him since I was 15, in the spring of our lives in Michigan so many years now gone. As brother Dave Henry (who took this photograph) notes here, Anthony was a complex character; and god knows: we tangled in moments, as true brothers can. But I loved him and understood him better than I was sometimes willing to let on. But trouble fades; and family remains- with hands reached across the table."

"Farewell, then, brother Anthony," Henry continued. "I want to think the god your blessed mother (and mine) believed in has her there, waiting to receive you. At least for today, no one shall dissuade me from this vision."

Ciccone was born on May 3, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan, the eldest child of Madonna and Silvio Ciccone, reports the Detroit Free Press. He was estranged from the family for years and was reportedly homeless in Michigan. However, Madonna's younger brother Christopher Ciccone told The Mirror in December 2017 that they patched things up after Ciccone sought treatment at a rehab facility for alcoholism.

When Ciccone hit a rough patch in 2011, he spoke out to The Daily Mail, claiming that Madonna and their family did not care about him. "I'm a zero in their eyes; a non-person, an embarrassment," Ciccone said at the time. "If I froze to death, my family probably wouldn't know or care about it for six months." He also claimed Madonna paid for him to spend two months at a Houston rehab center six years prior, but it did not work.

"[Ciccone] was a lost soul trying to find his way but he was a good person," Carolina Gengo, who dated Cicconne when he lived in New York during the late 1980s, told The Daily Mail on Sunday. "He had books everywhere, that was all he really had. He was into reading about life and philosophy... And he wanted to sit around and talk about it. He talked about what it was like being the brother of Madonna, he didn't like being known as the brother of Madonna." Gengo added that he felt alienated when Madonna's assistant called him to ask how much money he wanted as a birthday gift.

In his 2011 interview, Ciconne claimed he worked odd jobs across the country, from fishing in Alaska to working as an assistant on film sets in New York. He said he also had a son with a costume designer in Los Angeles in 1993. Ciccone told the Daily Mail he had not seen his son for 10 years after the boy's mother moved to Iowa and got a restraining order. In 2005, his father got him a job at a vineyard, but he was fired five years later.

"They were all there for him and despite being estranged, Madonna supported him in every way she could when he was willing to take the support," a source told PEOPLE. "Family members including Madonna visited him while in his rehab facility as he declined these past few months." Madonna has not publicly commented on her brother's death.