Martine McCutcheon has announced the heartbreaking death of her brother Laurence John (LJ) at the age of 31.
The actress, 46, took to her Instagram feed to share the devastating news with her 536,000 followers alongside a snap of herself posing with her late sibling before detailing what happened.
With a broken heart emoji, she started her emotional message by sharing: "My heart is forever broken…"
She continued: "My baby brother, my gentle giant, sadly passed away, suddenly, 2 weeks ago. He was 31 years old. There is no medical explanation as to why we lost him so soon and whilst we investigate further, we are having to accept that nothing will bring our boy back to us. [broken heart emoji]
"L.J (Laurence John) was born when I was 15 years old and from the moment I first held him in my arms, I felt so proud and fiercely protective of him. He was such a character! He made us all laugh and loved nothing more than making a plan, having a great play list, bringing people together and generally having a giggle. He hated the thought of a party ending and so was always on to the next thing!"
Martine went on to explain that her brother had a "mild form of special needs" and was very skilled at gadgets and loved cars. She explained how he "smashed through" all expectations placed upon him and took hold of life with both hands.
Describing him as her "anchor", she shared how she tried to protect him from the limelight after she found fame.
She said: "I always wanted to protect him from the limelight and the characters that could be drawn to him for the wrong reasons."
Martine then explained that her brother was set to tie the knot in a matter of weeks before his heartbreaking death.
"LJ fell in love and was due to get married next month…" she wrote with a pink heart emoji. "I was asked to be bridesmaid and the last time I saw him, was a few days before he passed. He, jack and his future stepson had been to try on their wedding suits and then they came back to have dinner with his fiancée and the family to see our new home.
"He looked so tanned, tall and handsome. The best I’ve ever seen him… Ironic really… My heart aches for all who have lost him. But my heart breaks for our mum, his dad John & his Step parents. You should never outlive your children. " with a black heart emoji.
Martine ended her tearful post by sharing her concerns as she wrote: "Im scared to live without you LJ but I know you will want us to truly live, laugh and love in your memory. I will try I promise." followed by a praying hands emoji, broken heart emoji and a stars emoji.
Celebrity friends have since rallied around the star as they flocked to the comments to share their condolences.
Myleene Klass wrote: "Martine. My heart is utterly broken for you. I am so very sorry." with a broken heart emoji.
Sheridan Smith shared: "Oh I am so sorry Martine," with a sad face emoji and a broken heart emoji as Billie Shepherd said: "I am so sorry to hear this Martine [sad face emoji] sending you and family lots of love and strength," with a white heart emoji and a dove emoji.
Meanwhile Clara Amfo added: "So sorry to learn this Martine, sending lots of love xxx".
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