Madeleine McCann's gran dies of coronavirus as cops investigate new suspect

Madeleine McCann’s grandmother has tragically died of coronavirus.

Eileen McCann, 80, died last month – weeks before German police broke bombshell news they believe Maddie is dead.

Officers are now investigating a convicted rapist over the youngsters kidnap and murder, the Mirror reports.

Speaking shortly after Maddie vanished in 2007, widow Eileen said: “When I lost my husband John two years ago I thought that my world had collapsed. But losing Madeleine is ten times worse.”

Eileen spent many months in Praia da Luz, Portugal, supporting her son Gerry and daughter-in-law Kate in the aftermath of the youngsters disappearance.

The pensioner, along with other family members, spearheaded a global campaign to keep Maddie’s disappearance in the global spotlight and find her abductor.

She was a driving force, along with two of her three daughters Philomena and Tricia and son John, in campaigning to find Madeleine.

Eileen’s wish – and that of Kate’s parents – retired joiner Brian and former teacher Susan Healy from Liverpool, was for them all to learn the fate of their adored grandchild before their own life’s end.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “The family will definitely not be commenting on a private family matter.”

Kate and Gerry McCann are still searching for their daughter Madeleine

A source close to the couple said: “It is yet another tragedy for the family and people who know them will be very sorry to hear.”

Gerry, a heart doctor, and ex GP Kate, both 52, of Leicestershire, are understood to have attended Eileen’s small funeral amidst Covid-19 social distancing restrictions in St Coval’s, East Renfrewshire.

Three-year-old Maddie had been left sleeping alone with her younger twin brother and sister, while her parents ate at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Eileen was convinced Maddie’s abductor struck at his first opportunity after closely watching the family’s footsteps during their stay.

She said previously: “I really believe that whoever took her gave her a drug first to stop her screaming and raising the alarm.

“Without a doubt, I believe the person who carried Madeleine out of the room that night had sedated her first. She is not the type of child to go off with a stranger.

Madeleine McCann's gran dies of coronavirus as cops investigate new suspect

“She’s alway been chatty and hyperactive at times but she’s not one of these children who talks to anyone, she needs to get to know someone first.”

In a heartbreaking interview when the McCann’s made their painful return home to the UK without Maddie, Eileen told how Kate collapsed in tears in her daughter’s bedroom.

She said: “Kate needed to go into Madeleine’s room as soon as she got back. She wanted some time alone there. It was very traumatic for Kate. I can’t imagine how sad she must have felt. Madeleine’s clothes and toys were just the way they had been left.

“Kate believes Madeleine is still alive.”

German police, assisted by Scotland Yard, say they are investigating a convicted rapist over Maddie’s kidnap and murder. 

German detectives are convinced she is dead and say they know how she was killed but have no idea where her body is.

Despite 600 new tip offs- 400 to the Met Police and 200 to German Police – following a high profile appeal for information no charges have yet been brought against a 43-year-old German suspect.

Kate and Gerry welcome the significant breakthrough but say until a body is found they will “continue to hope” Maddie could still be alive.