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Andrew Ridgeley pays tribute as George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou dies: ‘It’s desperately sad’

Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley has paid tribute to Melanie Panayiotou (Picture: Landmark Media; Gatty)

Andrew Ridgeley has paid tribute to George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou after she died on Christmas Day.

Melanie was found dead aged 55 at her Hampstead home on December 25 – exactly three years after George passed away.

George’s Wham! bandmate Andrew, who had a close bond to Melanie, called her passing ‘desperately sad’ and ‘utterly tragic’.

He tweeted on Saturday: ‘Utterly tragic news of Mel Panayiotou’s passing.

‘My thoughts are with her sister and father at this desperately sad time.’

Melanie was incredibly close to her popstar brother – who she affectionately called Yog – and through George, also grew very close to Andrew.

She travelled with the Wham! stars on tour at the height of their fame and the trio were pictured watching Live Aid together at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

Melanie was the one who broke the news to Andrew that George had died in 2016.

Andrew previously explained that on Christmas Day he was texting George to thank him for a gift he’d been sent before Melanie called him with the news.

Andrew was pictured with George and Melanie at Live Aid in 1985 (Picture: Landmark Media)

‘I honestly thought she was calling to wish me a happy Christmas, or maybe she was with George and the family, and they were ringing to arrange a get-together,’ he recalled in his book, Wham! George Michael & Me.

‘There was certainly nothing to hint at the awful news that followed – that George had passed away.

The news hit me like a punch to the gut. It was as if my world had been pulled out from underneath me. I put down the phone and, doubled over in grief, began to sob…I felt crushed by sadness.’

Melanie broke the news to Andrew that George had died in 2016 (Picture: Getty)

The cause of Melanie’s death has not yet been revealed.

It comes three years to the day after her little brother George died on Christmas Day 2016.

The Careless Whisper singer passed away on 25 December 2016 at his home in Goring-on-Thames, at the age of 53.

His cause of death was attributed to dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and a fatty liver.

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