updated 10/24/2011 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 10/24/2011 AT 11:00 AM ET
One of Madonna’s brothers has been homeless for a year and a half and currently lives under a bridge in Traverse City, Mich., he says in a new interview.
“My family turned their back on me, basically, when I was having a hard time,” Anthony Ciccone tells the Michigan Messenger, a political news site. “You think I haven’t answered this kind of question a bazillion times – why my sister is a multibazillionarie, and I’m homeless on the street?”
He adds: “Never say never. This could happen to anybody.”
Ciccone, 55, says he’s been on the street since losing a job at his father’s vineyard and winery in Suttons Bay, Mich. He also says he got frostbite on his feet last winter while sleeping outside in the bitter Michigan cold.
“You have no idea how gruesome it is,” he says. “You get nerve damage. That’s the milder stage. In the severe stage you have tissue damage, that is when you lose parts of your body … A friend of mine lost all ten toes. Several have died of hypothermia.”
Most of the story focuses on how Traverse City is better than most at caring for the homeless. “This is a unique system with the churches here,” Ciccone says. “You won’t find this in too many places.”
Madonna, 53, has not commented on the story.
In 2008, her younger brother Chris released a tell-all book called Life with My Sister Madonna.