Melanie Panayiotou, the younger sister of George Michael, has died on Christmas Day, at the age of 55, exactly three years after her brother.
Her death has been confirmed by her family in a statement. It reads that Melanie “passed away suddenly” over Christmas.
George Michael died on Christmas Day of 2016 at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. He was 53.
Andrew Ridgeley, George’s former Wham! band mate, described Melanie’s death as “utterly tragic” and said his thoughts were with her family.
Melanie Panayiotou and George Michael are survived by their father Kyriacos, known as Jack, and their oldest sister Yioda, 57. Their mother, Lesley, died in 1997.
In a statement, released through lawyer John Reid, the Panayiotou family said: “We would simply ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this very sad time.
“There will be no further comment.”
London Police also confirmed the death in a statement, which read: “Police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 1935hrs on Wednesday, 25 December to reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s.
“The death is not being treated as suspicious by police.”
In the last month’s edition of The Big Issue, Melanie Panayiotou spoke about her hopes for the recently-released romantic comedy Last Christmas, which was inspired by George Michael’s music.
She said: “My family and I hope you all enjoy the film, and Yog’s [George’s] music old and new, woven beautifully into this fun, easy tale of love and self-love.
“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 [Clark]’s amazing light bulb smile, something they share, across the celestial miles!”