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George Michael’s sister found dead on Christmas Day

George Michael George Michael’s sister found dead on Christmas Day

Death of Melanie Panayiotou not being treated as suspicious, say police

Melanie Panayiotou in 1986. Photograph: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou was found dead in her home on Christmas Day, police have said, three years to the day after the singer’s death.

The hairdresser, aged 55, was found by her older sister, Yioda, on the evening of 25 December.

The Metropolitan police said they were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 19.35 on Wednesday “to reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s”. The death is not being treated as suspicious by police.

In a statement through their lawyer Melanie’s family 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.”

The news comes three years after the death of Michael – who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. In a statement released at the time, the star’s publicist said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.”

Michael was close to his sister and left £50m in his will to the 55-year-old makeup artist, who also used to cut her brother’s hair as she travelled with him. His eldest sister, Yioda Panayiotou, 57, also inherited a large part of his estate.

On 23 December Melanie had issued a Christmas message alongside her older sister Yioda, their dad Jack and George’s former manager David Austin.

It said: “We have come full circle again and Christmas time (and the holidays), are upon us once more.”

“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.”

“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 ended by telling people not to forget to send their messages of love to those closest.

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