Donald Trump’s younger brother Robert died on Saturday, a day after the president visited him in the hospital, the White House announced.
No cause of death was provided, but he spent 10 days in a neurosciences intensive care unit in June—just before filing legal papers to stop his niece’s tell-all about the family.
“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” the president said in a statement on Saturday night.
“He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever.”
Robert Trump, who was 71, also worked in the family real-estate business but kept a markedly lower profile than his older brother.
However, he was thrust into the spotlight this summer with the news that his niece, Mary Trump, was publishing an explosive book about the president and his family.
Robert filed a temporary restraining order to stop publication, saying in a statement that Mary’s “attempt to sensationalize and mischaracterize our family relationship after all of these years for her own financial gain is both a travesty and injustice to the memory of my late brother, Fred, and our beloved parents.”
As The Daily Beast reported, the legal offensive was launched just after Robert was released from Mount Sinai’s neurosciences intensive care unit, where he spent 10 days being treated for a serious but undisclosed condition. (The New York Times reported on Saturday that Robert took blood thinners and developed brain bleeds after a fall.)
Following a furious volley of legal actions, Trump and his celebrity attorney Charles Harder failed to halt his niece’s book, which immediately hit the best-seller lists. The presidential sibling’s health apparently soon took a turn for the worse.
After President Trump visited the hospital on Friday, he told reporters that he and Robert had “a great relationship for a long time, from day one.”
In reality, the two had a major falling-out over Robert’s management of the Trump casinos in the 1990s, according to the memoir of former casino executive John O'Donnell.
Relations were reportedly chilly for years, but when Donald Trump embarked on his presidential bid in 2016, Robert told Page Six he fully supported his big brother.
“If he were to need me in any way, I’d be there,” Robert said. “Anything I could do to help.”
Robert Trump was the youngest of clan patriarch Fred Trump’s five children. He was married to Manhattan socialite Blaine Trump, and adopted her son from a previous marriage, and the two were regulars on the charity circuit.
The couple divorced in 2007 amid allegations that he was romancing his secretary, Ann Marie Pallan. Robert reportedly married Pallan earlier this year.