Madonna broke her silence over the death of her older brother Anthony Ciccone, a day after news of his death at the age of 66 broke on Instagram on Sunday.
While paying tribute to her late sibling, the Queen of Pop, 64, fondly recalled the wisdom he passed down to her, from different religions and his favorite novelists to music recommendations.
“Thank you for blowing my mind as a young girl and introducing me to Charlie Parker, Miles David, Buddhism, Taoism, Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac, expansive thinking out of the box,” she wrote at a sepia throwback. “You have planted many important seeds.”
The image, uploaded to her Instagram story Monday morning, shows her smiling at a crowded table alongside numerous friends and Anthony.
Wrapping her arm around a man in a black leather jacket and a leopard scarf draped over her shoulders, the singer’s sibling looked handsome as he looked away from the camera.
Tribute: Madonna broke her silence on the death of her older brother Anthony Ciccone, a day after news of his passing at the age of 66 broke on Sunday, via Instagram
“Thank you for blowing my mind as a young girl and introducing me to Charlie Parker, Miles David, Buddhism, Taoism, Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac, expansive thinking outside the box,” she writes in retrospect on Instagram.
Less than an hour later, she shared behind-the-scenes footage from rehearsals for her upcoming 40th anniversary The Celebration Tour, which she announced in January.
Thank goodness I have my creative life to inspire and keep me going…. ,” she captioned the recording, along with a “grateful” hashtag.
In the video, she can be seen working on stage with her dancers before saying, “I’ll see you later.”
Last weekend, Joe Henry, the husband of Madonna’s sister Melanie Ciccone, wrote in a statement: “My brother-in-law, Anthony Gerard Ciccone, left this earthly plane last night. I’ve known him since I was fifteen, in the spring of our lives in Michigan, so many years gone by now.’
Born in Michigan to Catholic parents, Madonna grew up in suburban Detroit with five siblings, the eldest of whom was Anthony, born two years before her in 1956.
Although she moved to New York to dance in 1978 and embarked on what would become a hugely successful career, he largely remained in Michigan, working occasionally for their father, before falling victim to alcoholism and homelessness.
‘Anthony was a complex character; and god knows: we got caught up in moments, like real brothers can. But I loved him and understood him better than I sometimes wanted to show,” he added.
‘But the problems fade; and family remains – with hands stretched across the table. Farewell then, Brother Anthony. I want to think that the god your blessed mother (and mine) believed in has her there, waiting to receive you. At least for today no one will dissuade me from this vision,’ said Ciccone, ending his letter.
Rest in peace: Over the weekend, Joe Henry, the husband of Madonna’s sister Melanie Ciccone, wrote in a statement, “My brother-in-law, Anthony Gerard Ciccone (seen in 2013), left this Earth plane last night. I’ve known him since I was 15, in the spring of our life in Michigan, so many years gone by now”
Dedicated to the job: Less than an hour later, she shared behind-the-scenes footage from rehearsals for her upcoming 40th anniversary The Celebration Tour, which she announced in January
Thank goodness I have my creative life to inspire and keep me going…. ,” she captioned the recording
Like Madonna, Cicconi also spent time in New York in his thirties in the late 1980s.
Carolina Gengo, 59, who was dating him at the time, described him in a positive light. “He was a lost soul trying to find his way, but he was a good person,” she said.
‘He had books everywhere, that’s all he really had. He liked to read about life and philosophy,” said Gengo. “And he wanted to sit and talk about it,” she added.
“He talked about what it was like to be Madonna’s brother, he didn’t like being known as Madonna’s brother,” she said.
Gengo told of a time when his sister’s assistant called on his birthday to ask how much money he wanted as a present. That, she said, alienated him.
After several years of rough sleeping under a bridge in Michigan, Madonna’s family said they would take in estranged Anthony again in 2017.
It came after years of publicly suggesting that his family had turned their back on him. ‘I’m a zero in their eyes; a non-person, a disgrace,” he told the Daily Mail in 2011.
“If I froze to death, my family probably wouldn’t know or care for six months.”
Ciccone said at the time that he had been living under a river bridge in Michigan with a sleeping bag and his only companion, another street resident named Michael.
Ciccone said he’s been one of the homeless in the Traverse City ski resort since he lost a job at his father’s vineyard and winery, six miles away.
Madonna was aware of her brother’s plight and repeatedly offered to help by paying for him to go to rehab. She is pictured here performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
His father and stepmother own a vineyard about 20 miles north of where Anthony is said to sleep, under the Union St. bridge in Traverse City.
“My family actually turned their backs on me when I was having a hard time,” he said. “Do you think I haven’t answered this question a billion times – why is my sister a multi-billionaire and am I homeless on the street? Never say never. This can happen to anyone.’
He said it angered him when some thought it was funny that the brother of such a famous star would end up living under a bridge. He was adamant at the time that he didn’t want any of her money – whether it was offered or not.
“I’m not looking for a free handout because of my sister,” he said. “I’m not looking for publicity.” Instead, he relies on the generosity of soup kitchens run by local churches for food.
Ciccone, who claimed he once worked in the fishing industry of Alaska and as a photographer’s assistant in New York, now earns a few dollars doing odd jobs and collecting bottles and cans from people’s garbage cans.
Madonna was aware of his plight and repeatedly offered to help by paying for him to go to rehab. His father also offered to give him his job back if he got professional help.
However, he had not always been receptive. “My family seems to think that drug addiction is some kind of magic panacea for life’s ills,” he once said.
Nevertheless, things seemed to be looking good for Cicconi after a stay in rehab in 2017 and his reintegration into family life.
Karen McCarthy, a founder of Dann’s House rehabilitation clinic, confirmed his stay, telling the Sunday People: ‘Anthony loved it at Dann’s House for a while and made significant improvements in his life while he was with us.
“Dann’s House does a good job with people who are vulnerable. We’ve seen great, positive results.”