Exactly three years after her older brother George Michael’s 2016 death, Melanie Panayiotou has been found dead in her London home.
The 55-year-old hairdresser’s body was discovered by her older sister Yioda Panayiotou, 57, on the evening of Christmas Day — same as her brother three years ago. Despite the eerie coincidence, police are not treating the death as suspicious. The cause of death is not yet known.
Yioda called an ambulance to her sister’s address at 7:35 p.m. to report “the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s,” the Metropolitan Police confirm in a statement, the BBC reports.
“We can confirm that very tragically, Melanie has passed away suddenly,” Melanie’s family said in a statement released through their lawyer John Reid, the BBC reports. “We would simply ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this very sad time . . . There will be no further comment.”
In a 1985 interview with No. 1 Magazine, Melanie said of growing up with her brother that “I don’t think you could say that he was your regular sort of boy,” and noted that the pair were alike in some ways. “We can be quite honest with each other and we share the same sense of humor,” she said.
George Michael‘s body was found by his boyfriend — who was left out of Michael’s will — on the morning of Christmas Day in 2016. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and 1980s icon was 53.
Although it was reported that Michael was quietly battling a heroin addiction before his death, a British coroner ultimately confirmed that he died of natural causes related to heart disease and a fatty liver.
Melanie and Michael are survived by their father, known as both Kyriacos and Jack, and Yioda, 57. Their mother, Lesley, died in 1997.
Despite being dead for three years, Michael released “new” music in 2019.
A film inspired by the Wham! singer’s hit holiday track “Last Christmas,” finally released last month after stalling in development for eight years. Melanie recently wrote a piece for The Big Issue about the film, saying “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,” she said.
“As many of you know, Yog adored Christmas and he loved the idea of this film.”