The death of Bernie Madoff's son Andrew after a long battle with cancer adds yet another layer to an epic tragedy.
For victims of Madoff's unprecedented Ponzi scheme, it could add new complications to efforts to recover billions in losses.
Andrew Madoff died Wednesday at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center "surrounded by his loving family," his attorney Martin Flumenbaum said in a statement. He was 48 and had been battling mantle cell lymphoma, a relatively rare blood cancer that most often strikes men over 60. His older brother, Mark, committed suicide in 2010 at age 46, on the second anniversary of their father's arrest.
While the Madoff brothers turned their father in to authorities after he confessed to them in December 2008, speculation about their involvement—which they denied—has swirled around them from the start.
In July, bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard, who is rounding up funds for the victims, filed the latest in a series of complaints against Andrew and against Mark's estate. The complaint alleged the brothers knew or should have known what their father was up to, and that they accepted millions of dollars in illicit proceeds from the scam.
The new complaint, which seeks more than $150 million, added allegations that the brothers helped obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission audit of Madoff's investment advisory business, which was at the heart of the fraud. At the time, attorney Flumenbaum called the allegations "unfounded."
"Neither Andrew or Mark knew of or knowingly participated in their father's criminal conduct," Flumenbaum said.
A spokeswoman for Picard declined to comment on how Andrew's death would affect the litigation.
"The SIPA Trustee and his team were very sorry to learn of Andrew Madoff's death and they extend their sympathies to his family," Amanda Remus said in a statement, adding there would be no further comments Wednesday.