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Madonna‘s older brother Anthony Ciccone has died, according to a social media post by the pop icon’s brother-in-law Joe Henry. He was 66.
Henry, a musician who is married to Madonna’s sister Melanie Ciccone, announced the sad news through Instagram on Saturday (Feb. 25). In his emotional post, the songwriter and producer described Anthony Ciccone — one of Madonna’s seven siblings — as a “complex character.”
“My brother-in-law, Anthony Gerard Ciccone, exited this earthly plane last evening,” Henry wrote alongside a youthful photograph of his brother-in-law. “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.”
Henry continued, “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. 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.”
Further details about Ciccone’s passing were not provided.
Henry’s Instagram post was liked by Madonna, but the legendary pop superstar had not released a statement about her brother’s passing at press time. Billboard has reached out to her representatives for comment.
Ciccone had reportedly struggled with alcoholism and was homeless for several years. In 2013, he needed nine stitches to his forehead after resisting arrest in a public bathroom in Michigan. His blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.40, according to the Associated Press.
Ciccone spoke out in a 2011 interview against Madonna, accusing the star and the rest of his family of not caring about him. “I’m a zero in their eyes — a non-person. I’m an embarrassment,” Ciccone told the Daily Mail. “If I froze to death, my family probably wouldn’t know or care about it for six months.”
Read Henry’s full post on Instagram here.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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