President Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, died on Saturday in a New York hospital, the White House said in a statement.
“It is with a heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” Trump said in a statement from the White House press office.
“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, I love you. Rest in peace.”
There were conflicting reports about whether he was 71 or 72.
The president paid his brother a visit on Friday, saying afterward that he hoped Robert Trump “was okay.” “He’s having a tough time,” the president said on Friday.
The hospital visit came ahead of Trump’s scheduled weekend trip to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“I have a wonderful brother. We’ve had a great relationship for a long time, from day one,” Trump told reporters before departing for New York. “He’s in the hospital right now, and hopefully he’ll be all right.”
The White House has not released details about why Robert Trump had been hospitalized, but Trump said Friday that he was seriously ill.
The youngest of the five Trump siblings remained close to the 74-year-old president and, as recently as June, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Trump family that unsuccessfully sought to stop publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary.
Robert Trump had reportedly been hospitalized in the intensive care unit for several days that same month. Both longtime businessmen, Robert and Donald had strikingly different personalities.
Donald Trump once described his younger brother as “much quieter and easygoing than I am,” and “the only guy in my life whom I ever call ‘honey.’”
Robert Trump began his career on Wall Street working in corporate finance but later joined the family business, managing real estate holdings as a top executive in the Trump Organization.
“When he worked in the Trump Organization, he was known as the nice Trump,” Gwenda Blair, a Trump family biographer, told The Associated Press. “Robert was the one people would try to get to intervene if there was a problem.”
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