A Connecticut father who started an educational development foundation in memory of his three daughters following their death in a 2011 fire in Stamford has died.
Matthew Badger, ex-husband of New York advertising executive Madonna Badger, died Thursday, the LilySarahGrace fund announced on its Facebook page. The cause of his death is unknown.
"We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Matthew Badger, LSG co-founder," the organization said in a statement. "While our hearts are broken, we are honored and committed to carrying on Matthew's legacy."
Inspired by the loss of his daughters Lily, Grace and Sarah, he co-founded the non-profit to create arts-infused learning programs at underfunded public schools for children with learning disabilities. Grace and Lily were dyslexic and needed special instruction during their academic lives.
"Matthew Badger. He was a wonderful man with a generous heart. He was an amazing dad to his girls, Lily, Sarah and Grace," Madonna Badger told NBC Connecticut Thursday. "He is with his children, his parents and his brother Mark. Please send him light and love. My heart is broken but also joyous that they are together."
The three girls and their maternal grandparents were killed in a multi-story house fire in 2011 started by embers that were placed in a bag and improperly disposed of. Madonna Badger and then-boyfriend Michael Borcina were the only ones able to escape the fatal blaze.
The inferno prompted a string of legal fights. For years, Borcina told investigators he had moved the bag of ashes into the mudroom before the deadly Christmas Day fire, but in a 2016 lawsuit deposition, Borcina reversed course and pointed the finger at Badger, saying she had moved the ashes and he had lied to protect her.
According to court paperwork obtained by the Courant, Borcina said he had taken responsibility to "spare [Badger] from carrying the burden that maybe she had done something to hurt her family."
Badger responded to Borcina's claims in a statement to the "Today" show last May, saying, "I feel sorry for him. I feel incredibly sad for him."
Both Madonna and Michael Badger had outstanding lawsuits against the city of Stamford. Borcina previously agreed to pay $5 million to settle a separate suit filed by the children's father.
Badger told "Today" in 2012 she believed the fire was sparked by an electrical problem at the $1.7 million house, which was under renovation. She said she did not blame Borcina, a contractor working on the home.