Rest in peace

George Michael’s sister, 55, dies Christmas Day – three years after him

George Michael (Photo: Andrew Macpherson/Universal)

One of George Michael’s sisters has died on the anniversary of his death. Melanie Panayiotou, 55, died Christmas Day, three years to the day after her older brother.

Her body was reportedly found at her north London home at around 7pm on Christmas evening by her sister, older sister, Yioda Panayiotou.

No cause of death has yet been revealed.

A statement from London’s Metropolitan police said, “Police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 7.35pm on Wednesday, December 25 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.”

Both sisters were close to their brother and were devastated by his death on Christmas Day 2016. He left a large portion of his $125million+ estate to them, including his residence in Hampstead, north London.

In November, Melanie wrote a piece for the Big Issue (a magazine produced for homeless people to sell on the streets) ahead of the release of the movie, Last Chrismas. The film features the music of George Michael and Wham.

She said, “My family and I hope you all enjoy the film, and Yog’s music old and new, woven beautifully into this fun, easy tale of love and self-love.”

“Yog” was the family nickname for George.

“As many of you know, Yog adored Christmas and he loved the idea of this film. I am sure he will be enjoying seeing Emelia [Clark]’s amazing light bulb smile, something they share, across the celestial miles!” she continued.

“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.”

Related: George Michael’s sister slams Elton John’s claim that George was uncomfortable being gay

The comment about her ‘proud-to-be gay” brother was in response to comments Elton John had made about Michael being uncomfortable about his sexuality.

George Michael, who was outed in 1998 when he was arrested in a Los Angeles public toilet, died Christmas Day 2016. A coroner later ruled his death was the result of heart disease and a build-up of fat in his liver.

A lawyer for the family has issued a statement saying: “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.”