George Michael’s sister dies on Christmas Day, exactly three years after singer

Updated 12:36 PM EST, Fri December 27, 2019
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(CNN) —  

George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou was found dead on Christmas Day, exactly three years after the British pop star died, the family’s lawyer has confirmed to CNN.

“We can confirm that very tragically Melanie has passed away suddenly,” the family’s lawyer, John Reid, said in a statement on Friday.”We would simply ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this very sad time.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement to CNN that emergency services were called to a home in north London on Wednesday evening due to “reports of the sudden death of a woman, aged in her 50s.”

George Michael with his sister, Melanie Panayiotou during the 1980s.
MediaPunch Inc/Alamy
George Michael with his sister, Melanie Panayiotou during the 1980s.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious by police,” the statement said, adding that the coroner will compile a report into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Panayiotou’s death came three years after Michael, 53, died suddenly in 2016 on Christmas Day. He left behind a catalogue of hits, including “Careless Whisper” and “Faith,” and the Wham! tracks”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Last Christmas.”

An inquest attributed Michael’s death to “natural causes.”

The singer-songwriter, who shot to fame in the 1980s as one half of pop band Wham!, amassed a noteworthy and valuable collection during his lifetime.

Just 48 hours before her death, Panayiotou had issued a joint statement on Michael’s website.

“We will be swerving the bad and enjoying the good as much as we can this coming year,” the statement said, while also touching on the “power” of Michael’s songs.

“We know how much his lyrics can offer support when things are tough and help celebrate when times are good and life is going well… and that is just as powerful now as if he were still with us and as many of you say in your messages, it’s a gift,” it said.

“It seems important that his generosity of spirit and natural empathy have touched you in a way that would have him embarrassed, all your kind words are really good to hear and we know you have always known his true heart.”