George Michael’s younger sister Melanie Panayiotou, 55, was found dead at her home on Wednesday December 25 by her older sister Yioda Panayiotou. Melanie’s older brother George died at his own home exactly three years before she did.
The cause of her death has not yet been confirmed.
Melanie was very close to the former Wham! star and a source close to the family told The Mail on Sunday his death in 2016 “hit her hard”.
They said: “Mel had a heart of gold. She was exceptionally close to George and his death hit her hard.
“She will be missed tremendously.”
The message, which explained how the family are focusing on their happy memories of George, concluded: “We’ll close by saying, don’t forget to say your ‘I Love You’s’ and enjoy your celebrations wherever you are.
“Thank you so much for your kind messages, they lift us when things are tough.”
Singer Shirlie Kemp paid tribute to Melanie and described her as “one of the kindest, most considerate of others I had ever met”.
The star, who found fame with George’s band Wham!, wrote on Instagram yesterday: “We both shared a great love of flowers and many of the flowers in my photos were hers as she loved me photographing them.