The father of EastEnders star Samantha Janus has been found dead at his flat in a suspected suicide.

Reports suggest that Noel Janus, who was 60, hanged himself at his one-bedroom flat in Brighton after a long period of depression.

Yesterday Samantha – best known as Ronnie Mitchell in the soap – was seen leaving the property in tears as she collected some of his belongings.

Her husband Mark Womack said, “She asks to be left alone to grieve with her family.”

Neighbour John Austin told reporters, “As far as we know he hanged himself. He was a nice chap and I got on with him. He seemed quite bright even though he had heart trouble.”

Another neighbour, Mark Berridge, added, “He told me he was going to hospital to get results on his heart. When he got back I asked him how he got on and he said he was fine.

“For all we know he might have known his illness was going to kill him and decided to take the easiest way out.”

Mr Janus – brother of George Best’s former wife Angie – had a strained relationship with Samantha after walking out on her and her mother Diane when she was just six years old.

Earlier this year he spoke of his grief at being left out of pictures of her wedding which appeared in OK! Magazine, saying it was like a “dagger to the heart”.