The Material Girl is mourning the loss of her grandmother.
Elsie Mae Fortin, the singer’s maternal grandmother, passed away at her home in Bay City, Michigan Thursday, just three months shy of her 100th birthday. Elsie helped raise Madonna and her sibilings after her mother died of breast cancer in 1963. The future Pop Queen was only five. The star remained very close to her grandmother throughout her childhood and early fame in the 1980s, often staying with Fortin in the home she grew up for weeks over summers.
“She was very friendly, loving and caring. She had a big family to take care of and she did a great job of it,” Madonna’s father, Silvio Ciccone, told The Bay City Times newspaper in a tribute to his late mother-in-law, who was still feist enough to live alone.
The grieving pop star has so far refrained from commenting on her loss, but her longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg broke her silence with an email to the press overnight.
“I’m sorry, but Madonna will not be issuing any statements or conversing with the media regarding her grandmother. It is a totally personal matter to her.”
A funeral mass for Fortin will be held in Bay City this Saturday, March 12. The somber affair will likely be the “Borderline” star’s first face-to-face meeting with her brother Christopher Ciccone since the flamboyant spitfire sold the star out in the 2008 tell-all Life With My Sister Madonna.
“The only contact I have had with my Madonna is via e-mail when I try to keep her updated about our family, but often she does not respond, and if she does it is through somebody else,” Christopher said in January. “It could take my grandmother’s passing for us to meet again, but one way or another I know it will happen. I’m praying that my grandmother makes it to 100, but I know she is frail now… she is a remarkable person who raised my brothers and sisters and is very important to our family.”