Robert Trump, who died at age 71 on August 15, was the younger and only surviving brother of President Donald Trump, with whom he was very close. That has a lot of people wondering how Robert died.
He died in the hospital, where he had been for at least a day, but the specific nature of his illness has been withheld so far. The White House did not provide Robert Trump’s cause of death, according to The New York Times. USA Today reported that the White House announced Friday, August 14 that Robert Trump “had been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.” The president visited him that same day at at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, according to the newspaper.
The lack of a specific cause of death has sent Twitter into overdrive with rampant speculation about whether the president’s brother could have had COVID-19 (coronavirus), but that’s not based on anything in the public record. There is no public evidence that he did at all. Rather, Robert’s health had been weakening for several months, and he was suffering bleeding on the brain, according to The New York Times.
Here’s what is known so far about Robert’s health: Robert Trump took blood thinners and “had suffered recent brain bleeds that began after a recent fall,” The Times reported, citing a family friend. The Times added that Robert’s health had declined since June and for several weeks he was too ill to speak on the telephone.
In June, The Associated Press reported, “Robert Trump had reportedly been hospitalized in the intensive care unit for several days.” The nature of his illness was not revealed then, either, although, as a private citizen, that’s not terribly surprising.
Here’s what you need to know:
President Trump Called His Brother His ‘Best Friend’ in a Tribute But Didn’t Mention Robert’s Cause of Death
In a statement, President Trump did not release his brother’s cause of death. “It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” Donald Trump said in a statement, according to AP. “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.”
Robert Trump was 71 years old, making him three years younger than the 74-year-old president. He was one of the five children of Fred C. Trump, described in his New York Times obituary as “one of the last of New York City’s major postwar builders,” but also a controversial figure because of his real estate deals.
Robert was the only surviving brother of the president. His other brother, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981 after struggling with alcoholism.
ABC News first broke the story on August 14 that Robert was in the hospital in New York. The White House later confirmed the information. He was described as “very ill” by ABC.
Robert Trump Previously Worked for the Trump Organization & Underwent a Divorce That Hit the Headlines
According to CNN, Robert was “a former top executive at the Trump Organization.” Robert Trump’s father “paid him a $500,000 annual salary” and he approved many of Fred’s business payments, according to The New York Times.
Business Insider reported that Robert was retired and lived in Millbrook, New York.
He supported his brother’s presidency. “I support Donald one thousand percent,” Robert told Page Six. “I think he’s doing a great job. I think he’s got a great message.”
Page Six reports that Robert was married to a popular socialite named Blaine Trump for 25 years. The marriage ended when he “fell in love with his secretary, Ann Marie Pallan, and bought her a $3.7 million house in Garden City, NY,” the site reports. At the time of his divorce, he was living with Pallan for two years, according to New York Magazine, which described Blaine Trump as loving “the scene,” but Robert not caring about it.
Town and Country describes how Robert lived a low-key life after the scandal, donating money to a horse rescue group and serving as a trustee for a non-profit that focuses on “holiday giving.” A local told Town and Country, “He’s not flamboyant. He couldn’t be more different than his brother, quite frankly. I don’t even know how they’re in the same family.”
Trump has four siblings, of which Robert was the youngest, according to CNN. The third brother, Fred Trump Jr., battled alcohol addiction and died young.
They are the children of Frederick Christ Trump, who was born in New York City in 1905, the son of German immigrants, and Mary McLeod, a Scottish immigrant, The Times obit for the Trump patriarch Fred C. Trump says.
According to the obituary, the Trump children were Maryanne Trump Barry (who became a federal judge); Elizabeth Trump Grau; Fred Trump Jr., who died in 1981; and Donald and Robert. The New York Times has accused Trump and his siblings of setting “up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents,” adding that “the president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children.” A lawyer for Trump called the Times’ reporting extremely inaccurate.