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Robert Trump, younger brother of President Donald Trump, dies in New York hospital

President Donald Trump visited his brother on Friday and said later, "He's having a rough time." The White House has not released details about why Robert Trump had been hospitalized.
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President Donald Trump's younger brother, Robert Trump, died Saturday in a New York hospital, the White House said in a statement.

"It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight," Trump said in a statement from the White House press office. "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."

There were conflicting reports about whether he was 71 or 72.

Ivanka Trump tweeted shortly after the announcement of her uncle's death, saying "You are in our hearts and prayers, always."

"Uncle Robert, we love you," she tweeted.

Her brother, Eric Trump, called their uncle an "incredible man — strong, kind loyal to the core."

"Anyone who encountered him felt his warmth immediately. He will be deeply missed by our entire family," he said in a tweet.

President Trump visited his brother at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan on Friday, saying afterward that he hoped Robert Trump "was okay."

"He’s having a tough time,” the president said on Friday.

The hospital visit came ahead of Trump's scheduled weekend trip to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“I have a wonderful brother. We’ve had a great relationship for a long time, from day one," Trump told reporters before departing for New York. “He’s in the hospital right now, and hopefully he’ll be all right."

The White House has not released details about why Robert Trump had been hospitalized, but Trump said Friday that he was seriously ill.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, was among the first to publicly offer his condolences to the Trump family, tweeting that the president's brother had "a big heart."

"As a former Mayor I know how much he did to help New Yorkers in need," Giuliani tweeted. "We have lost a really good man. My love, prayers and condolences to the #Trump family."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose daughter, Sarah Sanders, served as the White House press secretary, also tweeted well wishes to the president.

"May God's grace be a comfort," he said in a tweet.

The youngest of the five Trump siblings remained close to the 74-year-old president and, as recently as June, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Trump family that unsuccessfully sought to stop publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary.

In her book, titled "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," Mary Trump describes the president as a man damaged by a toxic family dynamic with his emotionally abusive father and absent mother.

Both Robert and Donald Trump previously said their niece's book was in violation of a nondisclosure agreement she signed in connection to a financial settlement she received from the Trump family.

As recently as June, Robert Trump filed a lawsuit in New York seeking to permanently block publication of the book. He filed that lawsuit one day after a judge in a different New York court tossed out his initial efforts. In July, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that it would be "moot" to block the book because it had already been published and distributed "in great quantities."

Robert Trump was not widely mentioned in the book. He had reportedly been hospitalized in the intensive care unit for several days that same month.

Both longtime businessmen, Robert and Donald Trump had very different personalities. Donald Trump once described his younger brother as “much quieter and easygoing than I am,” and "the only guy in my life whom I ever call ‘honey.’”

“I think it must be hard to have me for a brother but he’s never said anything about it and we’re very close," Donald Trump wrote in his 1987 bestseller “The Art of the Deal.” “Robert gets along with almost everyone," he added, "which is great for me since I sometimes have to be the bad guy.”

Robert Trump started his career on Wall Street working in corporate finance and later joined the family business, managing real estate holdings as a top executive in the Trump Organization.

“When he worked in the Trump Organization, he was known as the nice Trump," Gwenda Blair, a Trump family biographer, told The Associated Press. “Robert was the one people would try to get to intervene if there was a problem.”