Melanie Panayiotou, the sister of late, beloved British pop star George Michael, was found dead in her London home on Christmas day.
Panayiotou, a 55-year-old hairdresser, was found by her older sister Yioda. Authorities have not yet disclosed a cause of death.
Local police said that her death is “not being treated as suspicious” and that a report will follow.
John Reid, a lawyer who acts for Michael’s family and estate, issued the following statement:
“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 comments.”
Panayiotou’s death comes three years to the day after her brother’s death at age 53. The two reportedly shared a very close relationship, including her affectionately calling him “Yog.”
After Michael’s death in 2016, an outpouring of grief and love ensued. Fans and devotees from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and the United States flew to the United Kingdom to pay their respects to the deceased singer.
Many Greek Cypriots placed their national flag among thousands of bouquets of flowers, candles, letters, photographs and other memorial items. The gesture served as a reference to Michael’s ancestry, something that was always at the forefront of the pop singer’s psyche while growing up — and while selling out arenas and selling more than 100 million records.
Just days before his sister Melanie’s death, Michael’s family had posted its annual Christmas message to fans on his official website.
“We have come full circle again and Christmas time (and the holidays), are upon us once more,” the message read. “I think we as a family, (there are lots of us, we Greek Cypriots, we’re everywhere)!! have 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.”
The text continued: “We know how much his lyrics can offer support when things are tough and help celebrate when times are good and life is going well… and that is just as powerful now as if he were still with us and as many of you say in your messages, it’s a gift.”
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