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Thursday 23 January 2020

George Michael's sister found dead on Christmas Day, the singer's anniversary

Tributes outside the home of George Michael yesterday after the death of his sister Melanie Panayiotou was announced
Tributes outside the home of George Michael yesterday after the death of his sister Melanie Panayiotou was announced

George Michael's sister Melanie Panayiotou has died at the age of 55, exactly three years on from the singer's death.

According to reports, Ms Panayiotou was found dead by her sister Yioda Panayiotou on Christmas Day at her home in Hampstead, north London.

Their brother, the former Wham! star, died of natural causes at the age of 53 on Christmas Day 2016.

A statement from the family's lawyer John Reid said: "We can confirm that very tragically Melanie has passed away suddenly.

"We would simply ask that the family's privacy be respected at this very sad time.

"There will be no further comment."

Reacting to her death, Michael's former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley wrote on Twitter: "Utterly tragic news of Mel Panayiotou's passing. My thoughts are with her sister and father at this desperately sad time."

The Metropolitan Police said it was called by the London Ambulance Service at around 7.35pm on Wednesday to "reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s".

Message

It added: "The death is not being treated as suspicious by police.

"A report will be compiled for the coroner into the circumstances."

Before Christmas this year, Michael's family told his fans that their kind messages "lift us when things are tough".

As the third anniversary of the singer-songwriter's death was approaching, his relatives had also requested that people continue to do "good deeds in his memory".

His sisters, his father Jack and long-time manager David Austin shared a statement on Michael's official website saying that the family has "come to fully appreciate (although we already knew really), quite how much love there is out there in the world, for both Yog and his beautiful music".

In a November issue of The Big Issue magazine, a publication that supports homeless people, Ms Panayiotou recalled how her brother had given it an exclusive interview in 1996.

She spoke of her hopes for the recently released film Last Christmas, which is inspired by Michael's music and includes a homelessness theme.

"My family and I hope you all enjoy the film, and Yog's music old and new, woven beautifully into this fun, easy tale of love and self-love," she said.

"As many of you know, Yog adored Christmas and he loved the idea of this film.

"I am sure he will be enjoying seeing Emilia Clarke's amazing light bulb smile, something they share, across the celestial miles!"

Michael - whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou - sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career in both Wham! and as a solo artist.

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