December 27, 2019 / 5:54 PM / a month ago

George Michael's sister Melanie died on Christmas Day, family says

Tributes are seen outside the home of former singer George Michael after his sister, Melanie Panayiotou, 55, was found dead on Christmas Day, in London, Britain December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou died on Christmas Day, the third anniversary of the pop singer’s death, her family said on Friday.

“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,” the family said in a statement issued through their lawyer, John Reid.

“There will be no further comment,” they added.

Police in London said paramedics were called for a woman in her 50s on Wednesday. Her death was not being treated as suspicious, they said in a statement.

Michael, who rose to fame in the 1980s as part of duo Wham!, died at his home on Christmas Day 2016, aged 53.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Stephen Addison

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