A heartfelt tribute. Hayden Panettiere honored her late brother, Jansen Panettiere, at his memorial service while wearing a jacket he designed.
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The Heroes alum, 33, joined friends and family at Palisades Presbyterian Church in New York on Wednesday, March 8, to pay their respects to Jansen following his death at age 28. Panettiere was also joined by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Brian Hickerson. The Scream VI star was one of the several attendees who eulogized Jansen at the service.
Us Weekly previously confirmed that Jansen died at his home in Nyack, New York, on February 19. According to a police report, a friend went to check on the artist after he failed to show up for a business meeting. Jansen was found “sitting upright in a chair unresponsive” before paramedics were called to the scene. There were “no obvious signs of trauma,” but Jansen was pronounced dead after CPR attempts.
Weeks later, Hayden and her parents — Lesley Vogel and Skip Panettiere — detailed the circumstances that led to Jansen’s death. “Though it offers little solace, the Medical Examiner reported Jansen’s sudden passing was due to cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications,” the family told Us in a statement.
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The trio continued: “Jansen’s heart could be seen in his eyes, and his charm in his brilliant, engaging smile; his soul in his masterful and revealing paintings, and the joy of life in his dry wit. His charisma, warmth, compassion for others, and his creative spirit will live forever in our hearts and in the hearts of all whom he encountered.”
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The Nashville alum spoke publicly about the loss of her younger sibling on Monday, March 6, during an appearance on Good Morning America. “He’s right here with me,” she said through tears.
Hayden and Jansen previously worked together in the movies Tiger Cruise and Racing Stripes, and the Scream actress was always her brother’s biggest supporter.
“He is a very balanced child. He has a heart of gold and would never wish bad on anyone. Sometimes I need to take a lesson from him. He keeps his cool really well,” she told TV Guide in 2007. “Watching him, because he is such a kid, you realize sometimes how down you are and for absolutely no reason. I guess it is just that it is very difficult for kids in this business.”
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Jansen, meanwhile, reflected on following in his sister’s footsteps. “She gets me a little more noticed. She gives me a kick-start. With [my movie] The Last Day of Summer, they will notice me more because she is my sister,” he said at the time. “It is almost like you are looking in a book, and the bookmark is my sister and she is basically showing me, she is able to push me out there. She helps me tremendously.”
Ahead of his death, the Walking Dead alum uploaded a black-and-white photo of Hayden cutting his hair. “Not the first haircut she’s tried to give me,” he captioned the sweet snap in January.
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