Family once, family forever. Billy Joel's mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel—the inspiration for his song "Rosalinda's Eyes" from the 1978 album 52nd Street—died on Sunday, July 13, at the age of 92, the singer revealed on his official website. Shortly after the news broke, his ex-wife Christie Brinkley took to Instagram with a special tribute.
Sharing a picture of Rosalind as a young woman—the same picture used to accompany the obituary on Joel's site—Brinkley reflected on her late former mother-in-law's extraordinary life. "At sad times, we look for ways to find the good to life our spirits," the famed supermodel wrote, "so I have only to imagine what Rosalinda's Eyes have seen to find cause to celebrate a life well lived!"
"Just in this year alone she saw her son, Billy Joel, receive the Kennedy Center Honor, the highest cultural honor possible, from the President of the United States no less, and Rosalind greatly appreciated the Arts!" the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl continued. "She also saw her son get a regular gig at Madison Square Garden, where he already holds a record and where Roz is welcomed on a first-name basis."
Brinkley then went on to talk about daughter Alexa Ray Joel, her only child with the "Uptown Girl" singer, to whom she was married from 1985 to 1994. "Rosalind's eyes sparkled with pride and joy as the former Gilbert and Sullivan chorus girl watched her granddaughter Alexa perform at the famed Cafe Carlyle surrounded by a large group of her friends enjoying themselves," she wrote.
"I know as a mom myself that when you see your kids happy, healthy, and enjoying their passions, you feel content and happy," she added. "Rosalinda's Eyes will live on not only in the song inspired by her, but in Billy, and Alexa...and Nanny Roz herself would find that worth celebrating. #cherishedgrandmother #restinpeace"
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rosalind was a working single mother who "supported various charitable endeavors." According to her son's website, she is survived by her children, Billy Joel and daughter Judy Molinari; her sister Bertha Miller; and her two granddaughters, Alexa Ray and Rebecca Molinari Gehrkin.