Madeleine McCann's grandmother Eileen, who "never gave up hope" that her granddaughter would be found, has died from a coronavirus-related illness.
Eileen McCann, 80, died last month, just a few weeks before the German police released the bombing news that she believed Madeleine was dead and is currently investigating a new prime suspect for her kidnapping and murder.
Widow Eileen – one of Madeleine's devoted grandmothers and Gerry & # 39; s mother – said shortly after her granddaughter was kidnapped in 2007: "When I lost my husband John two years ago, I thought my world had collapsed. But losing Madeleine is ten times worse. "
Madeleine McCann's grandmother Eileen, right, who "never gave up hope" that her granddaughter will be found, died of a coronavirus-related illness (left: Madeleine's aunt Diane)
The former Glasgow saleswoman and cleaner, who had spent many months in Praia da Luz in Portugal to support and comfort her destroyed son Kate and her toddler twins Sean and Amelie after the kidnapping, said at the time: “As long as they don't find theirs Body, I will never give up hope. When we finally bring her home, she will have so much love and hugs from all of us. "
Together with family members, Eileen was a fixture to launch a global campaign to keep Madeleine's disappearance in the global spotlight and find her kidnapper.
It was Eileen's wish and that of Kate's parents, retired carpenter Brian and former teacher Susan Healy from Liverpool, that they all know the fate of their revered grandson before the end of their lives.
Cardiologist Gerry and ex-general practitioner Kate, both 52, from Rothley, Leicestershire, are said to have attended Eileen's small funeral under the restrictions of Covid-19's social distance in St. Coval, East Renfrewshire.
Gerry has confirmed the death of his mother to the family spokesman, but relatives don't want to comment. Kate's uncle Brian Kennedy told MailOnline: "We don't want to comment on private family matters."
A source near the couple said, "It is another tragedy for the family and people who know them will be very sorry to hear them. But it's a private family matter and Kate and Gerry don't want to discuss it. "
Eileen, right, pictured during a vigil in Glasgow for Madeleine, left. The grandmother was an unwavering helper when she launched a campaign to keep Madeleine's disappearance in the global spotlight
Kate and Gerry McCann pose with a computer-generated image of what their missing daughter Madeleine could look like during a press conference in London in May 2012
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell added: "The family will definitely not comment on a private family matter."
The mother of five, Eileen, who comes from Donegal, Ireland, along with two of her three daughters Philomena and Tricia and son John, was a driving force in the search for Madeleine.
She and her family members liked to hold media interviews to prevent the youth from disappearing from the media headlines and to track down their kidnappers.
She had previously shared her belief that her “hyperactive” and curious granddaughter was drugged to stop her crying before being kidnapped.
She said, “No way did they carry her away from there without waking her up. If she had been taken by someone she didn't know in her sleep, she would have shouted the place down. "
The three-year-old Madeleine had slept alone with her younger twin siblings, while her parents dined with friends in a nearby tapas restaurant while alternately looking for the children every half hour.
The above-mentioned Christian Brueckner was named the main suspect of the disappearance
Eileen was convinced that Madeleine's kidnapper had met at his first opportunity after watching the family's footsteps while they were in a poolside luxury complex.
She said, "I really believe that anyone who took her first gave her a drug to keep her from screaming and sounding the alarm. Without a doubt, I think the person who carried Madeleine out of the room that night had calmed her down first. She is not the kind of child who goes out with a stranger.
"She was always talkative and hyperactive at times, but she's not one of those kids who talks to someone. She needs to get to know someone first."
Eileen has always been a fierce critic of the doubters who kept beating her son and daughter-in-law for leaving their children alone and mistakenly believing that they were responsible for the disappearance of their oldest child.
The Portuguese police had been working on a theory that the McCanns accidentally killed their daughter with an overdose of sedatives to calm her after an earlier restless night, and later hid them and then disposed of their bodies.
Kate and Gerry were suspected – "Arguidos" – when Madeleine disappeared from the Policia Judiciaria in September 2007, four months after she disappeared, but was later resolved on suspicion of misconduct.
Eileen defended the couple, who had not opted for the resort's babysitting service, and said, “They don't like leaving the kids with strangers. It wasn't something they did very often – they have a nanny at home they trust. They are normal parents who love their children and would never neglect them. Any suggestion they neglected is completely offensive. "
In a heartbreaking interview when the McCanns painfully returned to the UK without Madeleine, Eileen shared how Kate collapsed in tears in her daughter's bedroom.
She said: "Kate had to go to Madeleine's room as soon as she came back. She wanted to be alone there for a while. It was very traumatic for Kate. I cannot imagine how sad she must have felt. Madeleine's clothes and toys were accurate the way they were left behind.
The federal police have released a photo of a Volkswagen motorhome that was used by a suspect who may have been linked to the disappearance of Madeleine 13 years ago
Police have also released a picture of a jaguar that Brueckner used in Praia da Luz, Portugal, of a suspect who may have been involved in Madeleine's disappearance
The Federal Criminal Police Office distributed a photo above that shows a house in the Algarve in Portugal that was used by the German man, who is suspected of being linked to the disappearance
"Kate thinks Madeleine is still alive and I can imagine she said a little prayer for her." She told how daughter Trish called her and said, "Kate is in Madeleine's room. She is really upset."
Eileen, who had been in Portugal with the family but had flown back to Scotland, had previously seen Kate's desperation at the airport and said, "She was really desperate and kept saying she didn't think she would return without Madeleine."
"We hugged and kissed again and again and I said to her:" Be strong. "She kept saying:" But I'm going back without Madeleine. "I told her," You have to think about the twins now. "
Eileen has been a tower of strength for her son for the past 13 years, and Kate and the family have met often, more recently in Scotland.
With the support of Scotland Yard, the German police are investigating the convicted rapist Christian Brueckner for Madeleine's kidnapping and murder. Detectives are convinced that she is dead and say that they know how she was killed but have no idea where her body is.
Despite 600 new tips – 400 to the Met police and 200 to the German police – no charges have been brought against the 43-year-old German suspect after a high-level call for information.
He is currently in prison for raping an American pensioner and was taken to his own cell for fear of safety.
Kate and Gerry welcome the major breakthrough, but say that until a body is found, they "will continue to hope" that Madeleine may still be alive.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Madeleine McCann (t) Coronavirus