By Ubong Ekpo
George Michael’s sudden passing on Christmas day 2016 sent shock waves to pop fanatics world wide. Three years later on the third anniversary of Michael’s death, his sister, Melanie Panayiotou, passes away at the age of 55.
CNN UK reports of a statement made by John Reid, the family’s lawyer, confirming that Melanie had indeed passed away, rather suddenly and asked for the public to allow the family privacy and time to grieve.
Andrew Ridley, Michael’s group member from Wham! the pop duo which Michael’s comprised the other half of,sent his condolences to Melanie on his twitter account.
It is reported that Michael’s left 50 million euros(The equivalent of 55 million US dollars) to Melanie in his will.
Panayiotou was known to be a makeup and hair stylist. She often traveled with her superstar brother and aided in his look.
It was only a few days prior to her passing, December 23, that Panayiotou, her fellow siblings and father had released a Christmas message for fans of the ‘Faith’ singer, which was
“We have come full circle again, and Christmas time (and the holidays) are upon us once more. I think we as a family, (there are lots of us, we Greek Cypriots, we’re everywhere) have come to fully appreciate (although we already knew really), quite how much love there is out there in the world, for both Yog [Michael’s nickname] and his beautiful music,” the statement reads.
“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 continues.”
The fact that both Michael’s and his sister passed away on Christmas day is one of the most cruelest forms of a Christmas joke and striking sense of irony.
The song entitled ‘Last Christmas’ which was recorded by Wham!, has become a modern day classic Christmas song. From Michael’s soft, infectious voice, to the Christmas jingle beats of heartbreak, the song was a certified smash hit during it’s 1984 release, a goal Michael himself desperately craved.
In the years since his passing, the song gains yearly momentum, going as far as reaching it’s highest peak ever on the Billboard Hot 100 charts this year, peaking at number 19.
‘Last Christmas’ is arguably Michael’s greatest musical contribution to society at large.
The passing of Melanie Panayiotou is a painful reminder of how short and unexpected life can be.
Panayiotou’s life was shown to the public mostly through the eyes of her superstar brother. Her being the only prominent sibling of Michael’s to appear in public with him made her a figure in her own right.
Christmas, the holiday novelty which brought so much joy and stardom to George Michael’s family, also ended up being a day of mourning.
In this time of grieving, we must remember Melanies own words just days before her death, to come together and ultimately celebrate.