Amalija Knavs, the mother of former first lady Melania Trump, has died, Trump posted on her social media accounts.
“Amalija Knavs was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth, and dignity. She was entirely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson, and son-in-law. We will miss her beyond measure and continue to honor and love her legacy,” she wrote on X.
A campaign adviser for former President Donald Trump confirmed Knavs’ death to CNN.
Knavs was from Slovenia, previously communist Yugoslavia, and was a textile worker. She and her husband, Viktor, had resided in the United States and were frequently spotted in Washington after their son-in-law became president in 2017.
The retired couple maintained regular contact with the Trump family during the administration, often traveling with the first family on trips to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster, New Jersey.
As of 2016, the Knavses had owned a house in Sevnica, a quiet industrial town of 5,000 nestled in a lush tree-lined valley on the banks of the Sava river in central Slovenia, where Melania Trump attended primary school. But since their grandson Barron Trump was born in 2006, they spent most of their time in New York, neighbors said at the time.
The Knavses became US citizens in 2018, controversially obtaining their citizenship through the sponsorship of their adult daughter – a visa category the Trump administration had sought to end. Donald Trump had harshly criticized family-based migration, regularly referring to it as “chain migration.”
Melania Trump, who herself became a US citizen in 2006, is only the second foreign-born first lady. She has largely avoided the public eye since leaving Washington in January 2021, even as her husband pursues another White House bid.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Jack Forrest, Betsy Klein, Tal Kopan, MJ Lee Nick Thompson, Phil Black, Matjaz Krivic and Gašper Andrinek contributed to this report.