GE­ORGE SIS DIES ON XMAS DAY

Me­lanie, 59, never got over loss of pop star bruv

Daily Star - - FRONT PAGE - By JERRY LAW­TON

GE­ORGE Michael’s sis­ter Me­lanie, 59, was found dead on Christ­mas Day – ex­actly three years af­ter the singer died.

GE­ORGE Michael’s sis­ter was found dead on Christ­mas Day – ex­actly three years af­ter the singer’s tragic death.

Hair­dresser Me­lanie Panayiotou, 59, trav­elled with her brother on tour and used to cut his hair.

Her body was dis­cov­ered at her home in Hamp­stead, north-west Lon­don, by her sis­ter Yioda, 57.

Po­lice said there were no sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances and her cause of death is not yet known, but it was be­lieved she had been suf­fer­ing from a short ill­ness.

Me­lanie was an heiress to Last Christ­mas singer Ge­orge’s es­tate, which in­cluded a £97.6mil­lion for­tune and Grade II-listed man­sion in High­gate, north Lon­don.

Last night Ge­orge’s fel­low Wham! star An­drew Ridge­ley paid trib­ute.

The 56-year-old mu­si­cian wrote on Twit­ter: “Ut­terly tragic news of Mel Panayiotou’s pass­ing.

“My thoughts are with her sis­ter and fa­ther at this des­per­ately sad time.”

Lawyer John Reid said on be­half of the fam­ily: “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.’’

Just 48 hours be­fore her death, Me­lanie and her fam­ily re­leased an emo­tional Christ­mas mes­sage on Ge­orge’s of­fi­cial web­site in which they spoke of how they took com­fort from his songs’ lyrics when “things are tough”.

A Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice spokesman said of­fi­cers were called to her house at 7.35pm on Christ­mas Day by the Lon­don Am­bu­lance Ser­vice fol­low­ing “reports of the sud­den death of a woman aged in her 50s”.

They added: “The death is not be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious.

“A re­port will be com­piled for the coro­ner into the cir­cum­stances.’’

Ge­orge was found dead from nat­u­ral causes at his home in Gor­ing-onThames, Oxon, on Christ­mas Day in 2016 at the age of 53. A post-mortem cited an en­larged heart and fatty liver as con­trib­u­tory fac­tors, which can be linked to drug and al­co­hol abuse.

IT is ut­terly tragic that Ge­orge Michael’s sis­ter has also died on Christ­mas Day. Me­lanie Panayiotou was found dead by her sis­ter Yioda on the third an­niver­sary of their beloved brother’s death. This poor fam­ily are once again thrown into a som­bre spot­light. Me­lanie, 59, had only re­cently re­vealed how she was still dev­as­tated by Ge­orge’s pass­ing. She in­sisted she was try­ing to stay pos­i­tive over the fes­tive pe­riod and asked the star’s fans to keep do­ing good deeds in his mem­ory. And she seemed to take com­fort from Ge­orge’s ded­i­cated army of sup­port­ers and their undy­ing love for him. But now a dev­as­tat­ing curse has struck again. De­tails are still emerg­ing around the cir­cum­stances of the hair­dresser’s death. But one thing is clear. Christ­mas Day will for­ever be a dark time for this fam­ily.

SO CLOSE: The hit-maker with his sis­ter. Right, band­mate Ridge­ley

PASSED MASTER: The chart-top­ping singer died on Christ­mas Day in 2016

TAL­ENT SHOW: Me­lanie with An­drew and Ge­orge at Live Aid in 1985

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