George Michael’s Wham! pal Shirlie Kemp today hailed his tragic sister for her “incredible kindness”.
Shattered Shirlie spoke as pals said Melanie Panayiotou died broken-hearted and haunted by slurs aimed at George by his lover Fadi Fawaz.
Melanie, 59, died on Christmas Day, exactly three years after her superstar brother passed away.
Shirlie, 57 – a backing singer during George’s Wham! heyday – said: “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.”
Shirlie – wed to Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp – spoke as investigations continued into the death of Melanie.
She was found dead at her £1million home – which George once owned – in Hampstead, North West London.
Friends yesterday said Melanie had to suffer in silence after a series of comments by 46-year-old Fadi.
A source said: “Mel could never forgive Fadi for the way he treated George after his death. Everything that he said really hurt her and it meant she could never properly grieve for George for fear that something else would be said.
“She couldn’t comment publicly because the ‘Fadi issue’ was in the hands of the lawyers.
“It completely broke her heart the way Fadi behaved.”
Police are not treating Melanie’s death as suspicious and her family said she had been ill.
She was a hairdresser on George’s tours and in 1985 was famously seen with him and Wham! pal Andrew Ridgeley during the Live Aid gig at Wembley.
After George died Fadi repeatedly tarnished his name – calling him a “f***ed up icon” and a “crack head”.
In July Fadi was arrested when George’s mansion near London’s Regent’s Park was damaged after the family tried to kick him out.
George was 53 when he died at home in Goring, Oxon, on Christmas Day 2016.
Australian-born Fadi – who found him – was left out of the star’s £97.6million will.
The Careless Whisper singer left most of his fortune to sisters Melanie and Yioda, his dad Kyriacos, charities and friends – including Shirlie.
A coroner ruled George died from natural causes brought on by heart and liver problems. But in September Fadi blasted him again in a bizarre Facebook rant.
A month later posts on Fadi’s Twitter page made further shocking and unsubstantiated claims, claiming George was HIV positive, that sex was boring – and that he “never wrote his own music”.
One message said: “He paid other people to make the music for him and pretended it was him. Not so talented after all.”
A selfie was then posted, along with a message insisting his account had not been hacked. His claims angered George’s fans. One wrote: “How vile to post all this on someone who you claim to have loved and is no longer with us. Completely disrespectful!”
Another said: “You have no shame. It’s embarrassing.”
A friend of George’s family said: “There was a feeling that George just wasn’t being allowed to rest in peace and it was terribly upsetting for everyone – most of all Mel, who really tried to protect George.”
Mel is expected to be buried in the same plot as George and his mother – whose birthday was Christmas Eve – at North London’s Highgate Cemetery.
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