Shirlie Kemp has praised the "kindness" of the late Melanie Panayiotou.

Shirlie Kemp and Martin Kemp

Shirlie Kemp and Martin Kemp

The Wham! backing singer - who is married to Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp - has spoke a sweet tribute to George Michael's sister after her sudden death on Christmas Day, exactly three years after he passed away.

She told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "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. We shared a great love of flowers and many of the flowers in my photos were hers as she loved me photographing them."

Melanie was found dead at her home in London on Christmas Day (25.12.19), with a statement from the Metropolitan Police reading: "Police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 19:35hrs on Wednesday, 25 December to reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s, at an address in Oak Hill Park, NW3. The death is not being treated as suspicious by police. A report will be compiled for the Coroner into the circumstances."

Melanie was aged 55, and as of the time of writing, her cause of death has not yet been confirmed. The hairdresser was reportedly found by her older sister Yioda Panayiotou, and a representative for the late Wham! star confirmed the tragic news in a statement.

They 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. There will be no further comments."

Melanie's passing comes just days after she issued a joint statement with the rest of the Panayiotou family thanking George's fans for standing by them.

The statement read: "Hello Everybody, Lovelies, (and pets of Lovelies)! We have come full circle again and Christmas time (and the holidays), are upon us once more. I think we as a family, (there are lots of us, we Greek Cypriots, we're everywhere)!! have come to fully appreciate (although we already knew really), quite how much love there is out there in the world, for both Yog and his beautiful music ... Keep on doing those good deeds in his memory, 'paying it forward' if you can. 'Take Care' he says from up there in the stars, with mum, Anselmo, and his beloved doggies. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and celebrations to you all - we send our best from here in London! Melanie, Yioda, Jack & David x. (sic)"

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