Politics Ivana Trump Kept Half of Ex Rossano Rubicondi's Ashes, His Parents Say, as They Open Up About His Death It was Rubicondi's ex-wife who continued to care for him while he was secretly ill for the last year By Virginia Chamlee Virginia Chamlee Twitter Virginia Chamlee is a Politics Writer at PEOPLE. She has been working at PEOPLE for three years. Her work has previously appeared in The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Eater, and other outlets. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 9, 2021 09:52 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Rossano Rubicondi (left), Ivana Trump. Photo: Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic Almost no one knew that Rossano Rubicondi, Ivana Trump's fourth ex-husband, was seriously ill until he was found dead in late October, his parents said in an emotional interview on Italian TV. In a recent appearance on Pomeriggio Cinque, Rubicondi's mother and father, Rosa and Claudio, opened up about his legacy, learning of his death and his continued bond with Donald Trump's famous ex. They said that Rossano, 49, was to be cremated. "Ivana asked if she could keep half the ashes. I said yes," Rosa said, according to a translation. It was Ivana, according to Rossano's parents' interview, who cared for him while he was secretly ill for the last year. While host Barbara d'Urso said that Rossano had had liver cancer before suffering an accident while in the bathtub, his father said that there was no hint of Rossano's sickness in their many phone calls. That is, until a fateful final call with the news that their son was dead: Rosa grew emotional in the interview as she recalled learning what had happened. Ivana Trump's Ex-Husband Rossano Rubicondi Dead at 49: 'I'm Devastated,' She Says From left: Ivana Trump and Rossano Rubicondi in 2007. Claudio said a vein in Rossano's lung burst and he fell in the bathtub, hitting his head, while he was alone at home. He was found the next morning. Ivana, 72 — who had an up-and-down relationship with Rossano through the years but remained close with him in the end — called his parents herself. "She called us to express her sorrow," said Claudio, who described growing distraught as well. Looking back, he said, Rossano had seemed happy and well-established, with a good life. Both he and his wife said they now planned to remember their son in moments of joy: looking through old photos of him on the beach or, in a particularly sweet memory, singing at a restaurant with his dad. His belongings and the remainder of his ashes were to be sent to them in Italy. Word of Rossano's death was first shared publicly on Oct. 29 by Italian TV personality Simona Ventura, who posted a throwback photo of herself and Rubicondi on Twitter. Ivana subsequently confirmed the news, telling PEOPLE she was "devastated." (Rossano's listed reps did not respond to requests for comment.) Ivana married Rossano, her fourth husband, in April 2008 after six years of dating and a reported "domestic disturbance" over the prenup. Their lavish $3 million ceremony was hosted by future President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida; their daughter, Ivanka Trump, served as maid of honor. "It's not a 24-7 marriage, but we're both enjoying it!" Ivana told PEOPLE in 2009, referring to the couple's often long-distance relationship. Ivana Trump Breaks Up with On-Off Ex-Husband No. 4, Rossano Rubicondi: 'I Just Want to Be Free' From left: Ivana Trump and Rossano Rubicondi in 2008. The two filed for divorce less than a year after tying the knot but never drifted too far apart (even as Rossano had other relationships). The two danced together on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars in 2018. Ivana later revealed they called it quits in 2019, though they were photographed together as recently as July in New York City. Rossano was born March 14, 1972, in Rome and worked as a model and actor, appearing in such films as The Eighteenth Angel and The Golden Bowl with Uma Thurman and Kate Beckinsale. In more recent years, he had been working on launching Rossano To Go, a pizzeria in West Palm Beach, Florida.