Winnie Johnson, the mother of the Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett, has passed away peacefully at a hospice in the early hours of this morning, her lawyer said.
She tried tirelessly to discover where her 12-year-old son was buried on Saddleworth Moor above Manchester, stating that her final wish was for him to have a Christian burial.
Winnie Johnson, 78, had been suffering from cancer for a number of years and passed away peacefully.
Keith was taken by Ian Brady and his partner, Myra Hindley, on June 16 1964 after he left home to visit his grandmother.
Their other victims were found in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor but Ian Brady, who is being held in a secure mental hospital, has always refused to disclose the location of Keith's body.
Winnie has always maintained that he remembers where the body was hidden and appealed to him directly to reveal the location before she died.
Brady's mental health advocate, Jackie Powell, claimed in a television interview that he had given the letter to her in a sealed envelope with the instruction that it should not be opened until after his death.
Winnie's lawyer, John Ainley, described Winnie as "a most courageous lady" but added that her family had decided not to inform her of the development so as not to raise her hopes prematurely.
He added: "I think that any information that's passed over is going to be too little too late, sadly, certainly as far as Winnie's concerned."
Martin Bottomley of Greater Manchester Police, who is leading the investigation into the possible letter left by Brady, paid tribute to Winnie on behalf of the force:
Brady's lawyer, Richard Nicholas, declined to comment on the news of the death.