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George Michael's sister Melanie dies aged 55 on Christmas Day - exactly three years after her po


George Michael's sister Melanie Panayiotou has died at the age of 55 exactly three years since the singer's death on Christmas Day 2016.

The hairdresser was found by her older sister Yioda Panayiotou, 57, at her home in Hampstead, north west London on Wednesday, December 25.

Her brother's Wham! bandmate, Andrew Ridgeley, broke his silence over the 'desperately sad' death on Twitter this afternoon.

He said: 'Utterly tragic news of Mel Panayiotou's passing. My thoughts are with her sister and father at this desperately sad time.'

Melanie and George were close, and she was left part of his estate - which included a £97.6million fortune and a Grade II listed mansion in Highgate, North London - after his death.

She has spoken fondly of her brother in the past, and just days ago released a joint statement in which she told his fans that their kind messages 'lift us when things are tough'.

In November she stood up for her brother in a magazine article, saying he was 'my "very proud to be gay" brother, contrary to what you may have read recently.'

Tragically, her little brother George was found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Christmas Day 2016, aged 53.

Melanie's last public words - just 48 hours before her death - were about her love for older brother George, and she and other members of her family asked that people continue to do 'good deeds in his memory'.

She and Yioda, his father Jack and longtime manager David Austin shared a statement on Michael's official website saying that the family have 'come to fully appreciate (although we already knew really), quite how much love there is out there in the world, for both Yog and his beautiful music.'

Melanie Panayiotou, who on Christmas Day this year died at the age of 55, shared an incredible bond with her younger brother George.

The two would travel around the world together at the height of his fame and she has written of their close friendship in the past.

They shared another sibling, Yioda, now 57, but George was particularly close to Melanie.

In a magazine piece she wrote in 1985 titled 'Melanie: My Little Brother' his sister noted that George 'definitely knew what he wanted to do at an early age'.

She added that she and her brother were 'similar in quite a few ways'.

'We can be quite honest with each other and we share the same sense of humour,' she said, revealing that fans would pester her for locks of George's hair.

Asked how often he would return home, she said: 'At every opportunity he’ll be slumped in an armchair at our place.' She noted her favourite record of Wham! was Everything she Wants.

She is said to have 'adored' George's Highgate house, one of the first he bought, and according to a source who spoke to The Sun 'they shared some wonderful times there'.

Just weeks before her death, Melanie defended her late brother in an article for the Big Issue after disagreeing with Elton John over comments he made on a US talk show.

And earlier this week was part of a family statement in which she and others asked that people continue to do 'good deeds in his memory'.

They added: '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 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.'

They thanked fans for embracing the recent film Last Christmas based on Michael's music, adding that it 'is going to be there to celebrate and remember Yog and his music well into the future... and we thank everyone whose efforts brought his music to you.'

George was found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Christmas Day 2016, aged 53. A subsequent autopsy later cited an enlarged heart and fatty liver as contributory factors in his death.

A vast portion of his estate - which included a £97.6million fortune and a Grade II listed mansion in Highgate, North London - was left to his siblings, sisters Melanie and Yioda.

His family added they 'will be swerving the bad and enjoying the good as much as we can this coming year', adding that the past year has been 'difficult and busy' for Michael's 'hardworking team'.

'We are, as usual, staying as positive as possible, which is what we and Yog would wish for you all, and we are all hoping for a peaceful 2020. (Wow 2020! - when you grew up with Yog, that used to seem so far away but, here we are folks - It's the future)!!!' they added.

'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.'

Read more from Daily Mail

My view: This is so sad.

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