"Robert Trump was an incredible man - strong, kind and loyal to the core," Eric Trump posted on social media. "Anyone who encountered him felt his warmth immediately"

By Sean Neumann and Adam Carlson
August 15, 2020 10:40 PM
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Robert Trump (left) hugs his brother Donald Trump after the president-elect delivered his acceptance speech in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2016, in New York City
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Donald Trump's younger brother, Robert Trump, has died after a summer of ill health, including a sudden hospitalization only days before the president is set to give his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention.

Robert was 71.

"It is with 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 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, 74, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

He visited his brother in New York City on Friday, one day before Robert's death.

The New York Times reported that Robert had suffered brain bleeds after a fall, but a cause of death was not made public.

The more retiring Trump in a clan defined by his older brother's real estate billions and headline-grabbing ways, Robert had been living in Long Island in recent years.

His career included a stint as an investment banker before he went to work for his brother and father, according to The Washington Post. Articles about Robert also inevitably recounted friction between him and his older brother when Robert came to work on the flailing Taj Mahal casino.

As the BBC wrote in 2018, Robert was "said not to court publicity and prefers a quieter life." He told Page Six in 2016 that he was “gainfully retired." He had reportedly been hospitalized for days in intensive care in June in New York City.

After news of his latest hospitalization this month, President Trump told reporters he was "a wonderful brother," before leaving the White House to visit him in New York.

"We’ve had a great relationship for a long time, from day one — that’s a long time," the president said then. "He’s in the hospital right now and hopefully he’ll be alright. He’s having a hard time.”

Robert was previously married to Blaine Trump for 25 years; they divorced in 2008.

Earlier this year, he married Ann Marie Pallan, according to Page Six.

Robert Trump (left) and his older brother Donald Trump in 1999
Diane Bondaress/AP/Shutterstock

Robert and the president have two sisters: retired U.S. appeals court judge Maryanne Trump Barry, 83, and 78-year-old Elizabeth Trump Grau, who worked in banking.

The Trumps' oldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981 at 42 years old after years of alcoholism. (Patriarch Fred Trump Sr. died two decades ago, followed by his wife.)

Trump Jr.'s daughter, Mary Trump, went public earlier this year in a scathing memoir about the president and their family — a book which also depicted the younger Robert sometimes being tormented by his brother Donald.

Robert unsuccessfully tried to fight the tell-all in court, calling it a "disgrace."

His death shadows what is set to be an unusual if celebratory occasion amid the novel coronavirus pandemic: President Trump's acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in late August, ahead of the November election against Joe Biden.