George Michael's sister Melanie Panayiotou has died age 55, her family confirmed. As TMZ reports, Panayiotou was found dead in her London home on Christmas Day, exactly three years after her brother passed away in 2016. She was discovered by her sister Yioda Panayiotou, although the cause of death has not been revealed.
"We can confirm that very tragically Melanie has passed away suddenly," her family said in a statement. "We would simply ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this very sad time. There will be no further comment." Police said her death is not being treated as suspicious, and that a "report will be compiled for the Coroner into the circumstances."
Panayiotou was very close to her brother throughout his life. Michael was found dead in his home on Christmas day 2016 at age 53.
Prior to the news of her death, Panayiotou released a statement on Michael's official website alongside her sister Yioda, Michael's father Jack, and his manager David Austin. The four thanked fans for their support of the Last Christmas movie and urged everyone to show love for those close to them this holiday season.
"Don’t forget to say your ‘I Love You’s’ and enjoy your celebrations wherever you are," the statement read. "Thank you so much for your kind messages, they lift us when things are tough. Keep on doing those good deeds in his memory, ‘paying it forward’ if you can. ‘Take Care’ he says from up there in the stars, with mum, Anselmo, and his beloved doggies."