We are sad to report that Melanie Panayiotou, a great friend of The Big Issue, has passed away – three years to the day after the death of her pop star brother George Michael.
A statement from her family confirmed the tragic news of Melanie’s death, after police were called by London Ambulance Service on Christmas Day. The death is not being treated as suspicious.
A statement from her family, delivered via lawyer John Reid, said: “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. There will be no further comments.”
Melanie had been a true friend of this publication. The friendship began in 1996 when a chance encounter with Big Issue founder John Bird led to her brother breaking his media silence to give an exclusive interview to us.
In this, as in so much else, George Michael was a pioneer – becoming the first of hundreds of world famous cover stars.