Hayden, 34, took to Instagram on Monday, September 25, posting a poignant childhood photo of herself and Jansen smiling while posing beneath a Christmas tree. In the caption, she wrote, “Happy Birthday little brother. I miss you everyday. I’ll love you forever ❤️.”
Her tribute comes seven months after Jansen died at his New York home in February at age 28. According to an Orangetown Police Department report obtained by Us Weekly, a friend found Jansen “sitting upright in a chair unresponsive” after he didn’t show up to a business meeting. The friend performed CPR on Jansen until EMTs arrived and ultimately pronounced him dead.
Jansen’s father, Alan Lee “Skip” Panettiere, explained to the authorities that “he spoke to [the] deceased via telephone the night before and he sounded okay.”
“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,” they noted in a statement to Us. “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.”
Weeks after her brother’s passing, Hayden appeared on Good Morning America to promote her movie and got emotional about her loss “He’s right here with me,” she said, putting her hand on her heart.
Jansen was an actor and appeared in several movies, including Ice Age: The Meltdown, The Martial Arts Kid and The Forger. He made his first TV appearance on Disney Channel’s Even Stevens when he was just 8 years old. Jansen was also an artist and produced numerous colorful abstract paintings, which he frequently posted via his Instagram account. His last social media upload was a photo of his girlfriend, Catherine Michie, posing in front of a portrait seemingly painted by Jansen. It was uploaded on February 17 — just two days before his death.