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Hayden Panettiere Tears Up as She Addresses Brother Jansen Panettiere’s Death for 1st Time: He’s Still ‘With Me’

Hayden Panettiere Breaks Her Silence on Brother Jansen Panettiere's Death
Jansen Panettiere and Hayden Panettiere Broadimage/Shutterstock

Hayden Panettiere tearfully broke her silence on brother Jansen Panettiere‘s death during an emotional TV tribute.

Related: Most Shocking Celebrity Deaths of All Time

“He’s right here with me,” the 33-year-old actress said on Good Morning America on Monday, March 6, speaking publicly about her loss for the first time.

Us Weekly confirmed last month that Jansen died in New York on February 19 at age 28. A cause of death was not immediately revealed, but the Panettiere family later issued a statement addressing the circumstances of Jansen’s passing.

“Though it offers little solace, the Medical Examiner reported Jansen’s sudden passing was due to cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications,” read a statement from Hayden, mother Lesley Vogel and father Skip Panettiere on February 27.

The family 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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Jansen appeared in projects such as Even Stevens, Blue’s Clues, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Robots. He went on to land roles in Everybody Hates Chris, The Babysitters, The Perfect Game and Summer Forever.

The New York native’s final onscreen job before his passing was the role of Casper on AMC’s The Walking Dead in 2019. Since then, Jansen moved on to a career in graffiti art, which he often shared on his social media.

The former Nickelodeon star also offered a glimpse at his close-knit bond with Hayden before his death. “Not the first haircut she’s tried to give me,” Jansen captioned an Instagram photo in January of him and his older sister spending time together.

Hayden and Jansen previously worked on screen in films such as Tiger Cruise and Racing Stripes. The Scream actress showed her support for her brother’s acting career when he appeared in the 2007 film The Last Day of Summer.

Hayden Panettiere Breaks Her Silence on Brother Jansen Panettiere's Death 2
Jansen Panettiere and Hayden Panettiere Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

At the time, the brother and sister duo opened up about their dynamic during a joint interview. “She gets me a little more noticed. She gives me a kick-start. With The Last Day of Summer, they will notice me more because she is my sister,” Jansen told TV Guide in 2007. “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.”

The Heroes alum, for her part, noted the lessons she learned from Jansen over the years.

“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 added at the time. “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.”

Related: Hayden Panettiere's Ups and Downs Through the Years

Hayden has had her fair share of ups and downs through the years. She previously opened up about seeking treatment for postpartum depression after welcoming daughter Kaya with then-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko in December 2014. The former couple’s child remained with her father after they called it quits.

Following her split from Klitschko, 46, the Golden Globe nominee made headlines after then-boyfriend Brian Hickerson was arrested for domestic violence against her in May 2019. The case against Hickerson, 32, was ultimately dropped and the duo broke up after another domestic violence incident in February 2020.

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