Madonna’s oldest brother, Anthony Ciccone, has died at the age of 66.
The former photographer’s assistant passed away on Friday, February 24, with his death announced the following evening by his brother-in-law Joe Henry, who is married to the “Like a Prayer” hitmaker’s younger sister Melanie.
“My brother-in-law, Anthony Gerard Ciccone, exited this earthly plane last evening. I’ve known him since I was 15, in the spring of our lives in Michigan so many years now gone,” He wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
Without revealing a cause of death, the “Time Is a Lion” singer went on to wish “farewell” to his late brother-in-law as he shared his hopes that he has made it to the afterlife. He added, “Farewell, then, brother Anthony. 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 (sic).”
The “Like a Virgin” songstress is yet to speak out publicly about the death of her brother and over the last decade it appeared that Anthony had become estranged from his sister – who is thought to have a net worth of $850 million – as he explained in 2011 that he was sleeping rough after becoming a “non-person” to the rest of his family.
He said, “I’m a zero in their eyes; a non-person, an embarrassment. If I froze to death, my family probably wouldn’t know or care about it for six months. My family turned their back on me, basically, when I was having a hard time. You think I haven’t answered this question a bazillion times – why my sister is a multi-bazillionaire and I’m homeless on the street? Never say never. This could happen to anybody.”