All The Madoff Family Deaths Explained

Bernie Madoff was once known as a wizard of Wall Street — a man who could seemingly make money from thin air. However, that façade quickly collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis, which revealed that Madoff had not been the savvy investor of FiDi lore but instead the architect behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

According to The Guardian, it is estimated that Madoff swindled around $17.5 billion from his victims, which included everyone from well-known investors to Hollywood stars to widows and Holocaust survivors. Though $13 billion was able to be recovered by the authorities, a deficit of a staggering $4.5 billion remains, forever lost to Madoff's schemes.

Madoff was found guilty in 2009 of multiple financial frauds and sentenced to 150 years in jail. The judge cited Madoff's "extraordinarily evil" crimes in his decision behind the over century-long sentence. But Madoff's trial and guilty verdict did not bring an end to the saga around his family. Over the past 13 years, there have been several misfortunes befalling both Madoff and his family, leading some in the media to speculate about the "Madoff Curse.

The suicide that started it all

On December 11, 2010, Mark Madoff — the son of Bernie Madoff — was found dead in his Manhattan apartment of suicide. The date marked the second anniversary of his father's arrest. It was not the first time that Mark had attempted to take his own life. Per Town and Country, he tried to overdose on Ambien in 2009. At the time, he left a suicide note that partially read, "Now you know how you have destroyed the lives of your sons by your life of deceit."

As reported by The New York Times, Mark had been part of his father's business for years before the scandal but had always insisted that he knew nothing about the large-scale fraud that was occurring behind the scenes. In fact, many of Mark's childhood friends had invested with his father's firm. These friends lost their life savings — and reportedly cut contact with Mark — when the Ponzi scheme unraveled. 

After Mark's suicide, Ruth Madoff, the mother of Mark and wife of Bernie, ended all communication with her husband. She reportedly blamed both herself and Bernie for their son's death (via Business Insider).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Andrew Madoff, Bernie's second son, dies soon after

In 2014, Andrew Madoff, the brother of Mark and younger son of Bernie, died of a rare form of cancer. "Andrew Madoff has lost his courageous battle against mantle cell lymphoma," a family lawyer noted in a statement, via Reuters. "He died peacefully at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on September 3, 2014, surrounded by his loving family."

Cancer had been common in the Madoff family line, with Bernie's nephew even joking in a 2007 memoir that "the one thing we could all agree on is that we should curse the Madoff bloodline" (per Vanity Fair). Andrew was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2003. The lymphoma went into remission following treatment, allowing Andrew to work with his brother and father at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Like Mark, Andrew later claimed to have no knowledge of his father's crimes. 

According to INC, Andrew believed that the "stress" of his father's infamy and his own civil lawsuit had caused the cancer to return. He was just 48-years-old at the time of his death.

Bernie Madoff's loss of life and sanity

Bernie Madoff died in April 2021 at the age of 82. According to The Associated Press, he died at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. Madoff had been dealing with multiple health issues, particularly end-stage renal disease, and his lawyers even asked for a release from prison due to the health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The request was denied.

Reports later surfaced that Madoff's final weeks were filled with pain, misery, and even hallucinations. According to Market Watch, Madoff spent most of his final year in a wheelchair and with an oxygen tank, due to both his renal failure and cardiac issues. The renal failure also necessitated the amputation of his toe and dialysis treatments three times each week.

Overall, Madoff was in so much pain that he was prescribed low doses of methadone, even though he himself claimed that the drug made him feel "crazy." Starting on April 6, 2021, Madoff reportedly began screaming uncontrollably, marking the start of a more serious deterioration. "Help! I hate this f***ing place!" he allegedly kept screaming. 

When nurses asked what was wrong, he replied with nonsensical answers. His agitation and mental confusion lasted for six more days until he fell out of his bed and was given a morphine drip. He died 48 hours later, with his emergency contact unable — or unwilling — to be reached. Madoff was cremated, and it is unknown whether he had a funeral, per TMZ

The latest grim chapter

Sadly, tragedy for the Madoff family continues after police were called on February 20, 2022, to the home of Bernie Madoff's sister. According to The New York Post, Sondra Wiener and her spouse Marvin were found unresponsive in their Palm Beach residence. The cause of death is being investigated as a murder-suicide.

"Upon arrival, deputies located an elderly female and male deceased from a gunshot wound," the sheriff's office stated. Other details about the case — such as the cause or which party was responsible for the shootings — have not yet been released. 

Though Sondra Wiener maintained a relatively low profile following her brother's arrest, she did earn headlines after it was alleged that she had  been sent a package of pricey heirlooms from the Madoffs' days before the scandal broke. However, Sondra's son, David Wiener, revealed in a 2009 interview that his parents had lost millions of dollars due to the Ponzi scheme.

"Yes, my family's a victim. More so than anybody else. It's very painful," he said about the situation.