George Michael's sister Melanie Panayiotou 'never recovered from the incredible pain of losing him'

George Michael's troubled younger sister never recovered from the 'incredible pain' of failing in her decade-long battle to save him from an early death.

Sources say Melanie Panayiotou, 55, whose body was found on Christmas Day exactly three years after her older brother George died, had become a near recluse in her final years and had piled on weight.

Hinting at Ms Panayiotou's torment in a tribute on Twitter, singer Shirlie Kemp yesterday described her as 'one of the kindest, most considerate of others I had ever met'.

When George later began a well publicised battle with drugs and alcohol, Melanie Panayiotou devoted herself to preventing him being consumed by his demons. Sources say she was 'heartbroken' and in 'desperate pain' when she failed

She added: 'We both shared a great love of flowers and many of the flowers in my photos were hers as she loved me photographing them. Her kindness to me and others even when she was in pain herself was incredible.

'I pray she is now with her beautiful brother and her lovely mother. Rest in peace dear Mel.' 

Mrs Kemp, who is married to actor and musician Martin Kemp and whose son Ronan was one of George's godsons, met Ms Panayiotou when she was a backing singer with Wham! in the 1980s.

As well as travelling the world with George, the hairdresser became a regular on the London nightclub scene in the early 1990s. 

George Michael's former home is pictured above. The cause of Ms Panayiotou's death is unknown but police are not treating it as suspicious

George Michael’s former home is pictured above. The cause of Ms Panayiotou's death is unknown but police are not treating it as suspicious

Tributes are pictured above at George Michael's house. Her body was found at her £6.2 million home in Hampstead, North London, previously owned by her brother

Tributes are pictured above at George Michael’s house. Her body was found at her £6.2 million home in Hampstead, North London, previously owned by her brother

Sources say Melanie Panayiotou, 55, whose body was found on Christmas Day exactly three years after her older brother George died, had become a near recluse in her final years and had piled on weight. The pair are pictured together above

Sources say Melanie Panayiotou, 55, whose body was found on Christmas Day exactly three years after her older brother George died, had become a near recluse in her final years and had piled on weight. The pair are pictured together above

George Michael's troubled younger sister (pictured above with the singer) never recovered from the 'incredible pain' of failing in her decade-long battle to save him from an early death

Like her brother, however, she was devastated by the death of their mother Lesley in 1997.

When George later began a well publicised battle with drugs and alcohol, she devoted herself to preventing him being consumed by his demons. 

Sources say she was 'heartbroken' and in 'desperate pain' when she failed. 

A relative last night told The Mail on Sunday: 'Mel had a heart of gold. She was exceptionally close to George and his death hit her hard. She will be missed tremendously.'

Friends say that as well as comforting their father, Jack, 83, she was distressed by the behaviour of George's boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, who had to be removed from the pop star's £5 million home near Regent's Park.

Friends say that as well as comforting their father, Jack, 83, she was distressed by the behaviour of George's boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, who had to be removed from the pop star's £5 million home near Regent's Park.

Following George's death at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in 2016, Ms Panayiotou, who never married and had no children, shared the £98 million fortune left in his will with older sister Yioda. 

Her body was found at her £6.2 million home in Hampstead, North London, previously owned by her brother.

Friends say that as well as comforting their father, Jack, 83, she was distressed by the behaviour of George's boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, who had to be removed from the pop star's £5 million home near Regent's Park. 

As recently as last month, he was threatening to sue George's family after being excluded from his boyfriend's will.

Hinting at Ms Panayiotou's torment in a tribute on Twitter, singer Shirlie Kemp yesterday described her as 'one of the kindest, most considerate of others I had ever met'

Hinting at Ms Panayiotou's torment in a tribute on Twitter, singer Shirlie Kemp yesterday described her as 'one of the kindest, most considerate of others I had ever met'

Two days before her death, Ms Panayiotou wrote on George's website: 'We will be swerving the bad and enjoying the good as much as we can this coming year… We are, as usual, staying as positive as possible.' 

The cause of Ms Panayiotou's death is unknown but police are not treating it as suspicious.

George's Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley tweeted: 'Utterly tragic news of Mel Panayiotou's passing. My thoughts are with her sister and father at this desperately sad time.'

In a statement, the family's lawyer, John Reid, said: 'We can confirm that very tragically Melanie has passed away suddenly.

'We would simply ask that the family's privacy be respected at this very sad time.'

Flowers and tributes are pictured outside George Michael's house. Following George's death at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in 2016, Ms Panayiotou, who never married and had no children, shared the £98 million fortune left in his will with older sister Yioda

Flowers and tributes are pictured outside George Michael’s house. Following George's death at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, in 2016, Ms Panayiotou, who never married and had no children, shared the £98 million fortune left in his will with older sister Yioda

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