US President Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, a businessman died Saturday night after being hospitalized in New York, the president said in a statement. He was 71.
In an emotion-laden statement, the president wrote: “It is with a heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” Donald Trump said in a statement. “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.”
The president visited his brother at a New York City hospital on Friday after White House officials said he had become seriously ill. Officials did not immediately release a cause of death. No immediate plans were available for the burial, but it is expected that the president would attend the burial.
The younger Trump was very close to his brother and played an active role in his presidential bid. As early as June this year, he 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. He reportedly hosted events and fundraisings in Millbrook, New York for his brother and other Republicans.
Details of his illness have not been released. Reports indicate that the late Trump had been sick for several months, according to CNN.
During a White House briefing two days ago, the president declined to provide details about his brother’s ailment.
“I have a wonderful brother. We have a great relationship for a long time, from day one, so long time ago. And he’s in the hospital now. Hopefully, he’ll be alright, but he’s pretty …he’s having a hard time”, he said on Friday when asked by reporters.
Robert Trump was born in 1948, he was the youngest of New York City real estate developer Fred Trump’s five children. He started 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.
Although the two brothers were close, but they had a strikingly different personality. 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.’”
“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.”
The president, more than two years older than Robert, admittedly bullied his brother in their younger years, even as he praised his loyalty and laid-back demeanor.
“I think it must be hard to have me for a brother but he’s never said anything about it and we’re very close,” Donald Trump wrote in his 1987 bestseller “The Art of the Deal.”
“Robert gets along with almost everyone,” he added, “which is great for me since I sometimes have to be the bad guy.”
The president’s surviving siblings include Elizabeth Trump Grau and Maryanne Trump Barry, a retired federal appeals judge.
Authors Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher described Robert Trump as soft-spoken but cerebral in “Trump Revealed: The Definitive Biography of the 45th President”: “He lacked Donald’s charismatic showmanship, and he was happy to leave the bravado to his brother, but he could show flashes of Trump temper.”