George Michael's sister Melanie dies on third anniversary of singer's Christmas Day death
27 December 2019, 14:47 | Updated: 27 December 2019, 19:08
George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou has “passed away suddenly” on the third anniversary of the singer’s Christmas Day death.
The 55-year-old was found at her north London home on Wednesday evening, reportedly by her sister Yioda.
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."
Just two days before her death, Melanie joined Yioda in paying tribute to George on the anniversary of his death.
In an emotional statement, they said they have "come to fully appreciate quite how much love there is out there in the world, for both Yog and his beautiful music."
They 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.
"It seems important that his generosity of spirit and natural empathy have touched you in a way that would have him embarrassed, all your kind words are really good to hear and we know you have always known his true heart.
"Thank you for embracing and supporting the ‘Last Christmas’ movie and soundtrack, we knew you would enjoy it!! ‘This Is How’ is good, isn’t it?? We love that you love it, as would Yog.
'Everyone has been working so hard to bring you his music, the movie is going to be there to celebrate and remember Yog and his music well into the future…and we thank everyone whose efforts brought his music to you.
"We will be swerving the bad and enjoying the good as much as we can this coming year (2019 has been difficult and busy for George’s hardworking team).
"We are, as usual, staying as positive as possible, which is what we and Yog would wish for you all, and we are all hoping for a peaceful 2020. (Wow 2020! – when you grew up with Yog, that used to seem so far away but, here we are folks – It’s the future)!!!"
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 19:35hrs on Wednesday, 25 December to reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s, at an address in Oak Hill Park, NW3.
"The death is not being treated as suspicious by police.
"A report will be compiled for the Coroner into the circumstances."