BEDMINSTER (NEW JERSEY) • Mr Robert Trump, the younger brother of United States President Donald Trump and a business executive who avoided the spotlight, died on Saturday night, a day after the President visited him in a New York hospital.
President Trump announced the death in a statement.
“It is with a heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother Robert peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Robert Trump, who at 71 was younger than the 74-year-old President, was a business executive and real estate developer. Unlike his reality TV star brother, Mr Robert Trump shunned the limelight.
President Trump made an emotional visit to see his ailing brother on Friday at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Centre before going to his golf club at Bedminster, New Jersey, for the weekend. The visit lasted just under an hour.
The President was expected to attend the funeral, an aide said. He has a busy travel schedule in the coming days with plans to visit four battleground states as part of his re-election campaign.
Although the cause of Mr Robert Trump’s death was not revealed, President Trump told reporters on Friday that his brother was “having a hard time” with an undisclosed illness. According to a close friend of the family, Mr Robert Trump, who took blood thinners, had experienced brain bleeds that began after a recent fall.
ABC News had reported that Mr Robert Trump was hospitalised in the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai hospital in New York in June.
That month, Mr Robert Trump won a temporary restraining order against his and the President’s niece Mary Trump to stop her from publishing a tell-all book that offered an unflattering look of the President and his family.
A state supreme court judge in Poughkeepsie, New York, later denied a request to stop publication and cancelled the temporary restraining order.
Mr Robert Trump had said the book, Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man, would violate a confidentiality agreement tied to the estate of his father Fred Trump Sr, who died in 1999.
The New York Post reported in March that Mr Robert Trump had married his second wife Ann Marie Pallan, and that they lived in a country home on Long Island.
He had no children, but he helped to raise Mr Christopher Hollister Trump-Retchin, the son of his first wife Blaine Trump, even giving him his last name.
Besides the President and Ms Pallan, he is survived by his sisters Maryanne Trump Barry and Elizabeth Trump Grau. His brother Fred Trump Jr died in 1981.
As the youngest of five children, Mr Robert Trump was shielded from some of the pressure exerted by his disciplinarian father over his older brothers. He was never groomed to take over the family real estate company and was considered by those who knew him to be the inverse of the self-promotional brother who eventually did.
After graduating from Boston University, he took a job on Wall Street but eventually went to work for his brother as a senior executive at the Trump Organisation.
“You could consider him the quietest of Trumps,” Mr Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer, said. “He was glad to stay out of the spotlight.”
Mr Jack O’Donnell, a former Trump Organisation executive, recalled the younger Trump as someone with a natural ease and good humour: “He had zero sense of entitlement.”
Two of President Trump’s children expressed sadness about their uncle’s death.
“Robert Trump was an incredible man – strong, kind and loyal to the core. Anyone who encountered him felt his warmth immediately. He will be deeply missed by our entire family,” Mr Eric Trump wrote.
Ms Ivanka Trump tweeted: “Uncle Robert, we love you. You are in our hearts and prayers, always.”