Her death on Christmas Day came exactly three years after her brother’s in 2016.
Hairdresser Panayiotou was found at her home on Wednesday by her older sister Yioda. A cause of death has not been revealed.
In a statement to the Mirror, 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.”
A statement from lawyer John Reid, who acts for Michael’s family and estate, 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 comments.”
Michael died on 25 December 2016 at the age of 53 at his home in Goring-on-Thames, and his death was attributed to a dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and a fatty liver.
Panayiotou was very close to her brother, who she affectionately called Yog. In November, she spoke to the Big Issue about the George Michael film Last Christmas, saying: “As many of you know, Yog adored Christmas and he loved the idea of this film. I am sure he will be enjoying seeing Emilia [Clarke]’s amazing light bulb smile, something they share, across the celestial miles.
“And, most importantly, we all, together with our dear departed Yog (my ‘very proud to be gay’ brother – contrary to what you may have read recently!) wish a very merry, merry Christmas to Big Issue sellers and readers alike.”