Madonna’s older brother Anthony Ciccone has died at the age of 66, family confirms

Madonna’s older brother Anthony Ciccone has died at the age of 66, family confirms

Madonna’s older brother Anthony Ciccone has died at the age of 66, the pop icon’s brother-in law has confirmed.

Joe Henry, a musician who is married to Madonna's sister Melanie Ciccone, said on Instagram on Saturday that Mr Ciccone had passed away the previous night, hailing him as “a complex character”.

"My brother-in-law, Anthony Gerard Ciccone, exited this earthly plane last evening," wrote Mr Henry. "I’ve known him since I was 15, in the spring of our lives in Michigan so many years now gone.

"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. Trouble fades; and family remains – with hands reached across the table.

"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."

The singer herself, known offstage as Madonna Louise Ciccone, had not commented on her brother's death as of Sunday evening, but did reportedly tap 'like' on Mr Henry's Instagram post.

Mr Ciccone had long been a troubled character in his sister's life, having repeatedly lost jobs and lived on the streets for years due to his struggle with alcoholism. He was arrested at least twice, in one case reportedly needing stitches after drunkenly brawling with police officers.

According to the UK's Daily Mirror, Mr Ciccone had first become homeless in Los Angeles in the late Nineties and early Noughties, before being given a second chance at the Michigan vineyard owned by his father Silvio Anthony Ciccone in 2005.

Five years later he was sacked again and ended up sleeping rough in the freezing Great Lakes state, where Madonna and her family grew up on the outskirts of Detroit.

Over the next seven years, Mr Ciccone would repeatedly claim that his family were refusing to help him, at one point telling The Daily Mail: "Madonna doesn’t give a s*** if I’m dead or alive. She lives in her own world."

But sources close to the Ciccone family said that they were horrified by the situation, telling reporters that Madonna had paid for him to attend a rehab clinic and that their door was open to him stopped drinking.

Finally, in 2017, Madonna's younger brother Christopher confirmed that Mr Ciccone was "back home" and "recovering" after spending time at Dann's House, an unconventional Michigan clinic that lets residents drink as much as they like while providing them with safe housing and other services.