"His charisma, warmth, compassion for others, and his creative spirit will live forever in our hearts," his family said in a statement.
Hayden Panettiere and her family are mourning the sudden death of her younger brother, actor Jansen Panettiere, who died on February 19 at age 28. “It is with great sorrow we share the tremendous, untimely loss of our beautiful Jansen,” the family said in a statement, per USA Today.
According to a police report obtained by PEOPLE, Jansen was found in his home by a friend who was there to check on him after he did not attend a business meeting.
Jansen Panettiere’s cause of death revealed: ‘No obvious signs of trauma’ https://t.co/JtwnWN7t2L pic.twitter.com/GhcYCzw2tf— New York Post (@nypost) February 28, 2023
The friend found him “sitting upright in a chair unresponsive” and attempted to give him CPR. First responders were called to the scene and eventually pronounced him dead. According to the report, his father had also spoken to his son the night before and thought that he “sounded okay.”
His family added in the statement, “Though it offers little solace, the Medical Examiner reported Jansen’s sudden passing was due to cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications.”
Cardiomegaly has several causes, with high blood pressure among the most common, per Mayo Clinic. Some people experience no signs or symptoms, while others may experience shortness of breath, an irregular heart rhythm, or swelling of the belly or legs.
The statement, which was signed by father Skip Panettiere, mother Lesley Vogel, and sister Hayden, said, “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."
Jansen Panettiere, actor and younger brother of Hayden Panettiere, died from an enlarged heart, his family says. https://t.co/PSiILatSVT— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 27, 2023
"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,” it added. Jansen's family members went on to thank fans for "the outpouring of love and support towards our family as we navigate this unthinkable loss," adding that they want to "be gifted our privacy during this time of mourning." The statement concluded, "We love you so much Jansen and you will be in our hearts forever."
After news of his death broke, Jansen's girlfriend Catherine Michie paid tribute to him on Instagram, writing, “Jansen, I met you only a year ago, but you have been my best friend and biggest fan I will never forget the first time I saw your face and the first things you said to me. Words cannot express the pain of knowing I won't hear your laugh again.”
As per NBC, Since the early 2000s, Jansen Panettiere had appeared in multiple television shows and played characters in series including Even Stevens, Third Watch, Everybody Hates Chris and Major Crimes.
In season nine of The Walking Dead, he played Casper in an episode titled The Calm Before. Producers at Valhalla Entertainment, the production company for The Walking Dead, offered their condolences on Twitter.
You might remember Jansen as "Casper" in "The Calm Before" in Season 9 of #TheWalkingDead. He will be deeply missed. The whole #TWDFamily is thinking about the Panettiere family right now. https://t.co/28VIBe0b6F— ValhallaEnt (@valhallapics) February 21, 2023
The Panettiere siblings starred together in the 2004 Disney Channel movie Tiger Cruise, about a naval carrier with military families on board. Jansen ended the 2000s with additional voice roles in Robots, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and Nickelodeon’s action comedy The X’s, as well as onscreen appearances in 2007’s The Babysitters, 2008’s The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry and 2009’s The Perfect Game.
His last role was in a romantic comedy called Love and Love Not which was released last year. The 28-year-old was also a painter, often displaying his artwork on Instagram.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Jason Merritt