Heartbreaking news for Madonna as estranged brother Anthony dies aged 66

Madonna's oldest brother, Anthony Gerard Ciccone, passed away at the weekend after years of being estranged from the Grammy-winning musician

Heartbreak for Madonna as estranged brother Anthony dies aged 66
(Image credit: Cassy Athena/Getty Images)

Madonna's older brother, Anthony Ciccone, has passed away at the age of 66, according to a close family member. 

Joe Henry, the husband of Madonna's sister Melanie Ciccone, confirmed the sad news on Sunday with a touching Instagram statement. 

"Anthony Gerard Ciccone, exited this earthly plane last evening," the American singer-songwriter wrote alongside a black-and-white image of his late brother-in-law. 

Henry revealed that he first met Anthony in Michigan when he was 15, before confessing that the pair had a tumultuous relationship and "tangled in moments" like "true brothers." 

Anthony, who battled alcoholism and homelessness, had reportedly been estranged from Madonna, 64, and their five other siblings for over a decade. In the past, he accused the Like a Virgin singer of not caring about him – despite reports that she had repeatedly offered to pay for him to go to rehab. 

"I never loved her in the first place, she never loved me. We never loved each other," Anthony told the Daily Mail in 2011, before claiming that their father, Silvio, would be "happy" if he "died of hypothermia."

"If I froze to death, my family probably wouldn't know or care about it for six months," the former stage set carpenter added. "I’m a zero in their eyes; a non-person, an embarrassment." 

At the time of the bombshell interview, he had been sleeping rough under a bridge in his native city of Michigan. 

Madonna speaks onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS))

In 2017, Madonna's youngest brother Christopher Ciccone revealed that Anthony had moved back in with the family after completing a residential treatment program for addiction and was now in "recovery."

Madonna has not addressed Anthony's death yet, but she has 'liked' Joe Henry's Instagram post. The 62-year-old, who married Melanie Ciccone in 1987, went on to say that he "loved" and "understood" his deceased brother-in-law "better than I was sometimes willing to let on." 


Madonna with brother Chris in 1998 

(Image credit: Getty)

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

Joe Henry's message was received by an outpouring of condolences, many of which were sharing their own experiences with Anthony.

"I have some really fond memories of him growing up," one of the musician's 12.4k followers wrote. We bonded over our love of Calvin and Hobbes. I’ll be thinking about him and the Ciccones tonight." 

"Anthony was a special soul who I connected with when I moved in [sic] NY in the 80s. He helped me a lot [and] introduced me to some key people in my life, always with a smile," another person commented. 

Anthony's cause of death remains unknown. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.