Hayden Panettiere has publicly spoken out about her late brother Jansen for the first time, two weeks after he died unexpectedly from a heart condition.
The 34-year-old actress appeared onGood Morning America on Monday to discuss her upcoming film, Scream 6. When TV host Michael Strahan offered his condolences to her and her family, after her brother’s passing, Panetterie responded by nodding her head and thanking the news anchor.
“Thank you,” she said, with some tears in her eyes and her hand over her heart. “He’s uh, right here with me.”
Strahan agreed with the Nashville star’s statement and responded: “Always.”
On 27 February, Panettiere and her family confirmed Jansen’s death in a joint statement. He died suddenly at the age of 28 on 19 February.
“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 said.
The family also revealed his cause of death, explaining: “Though it offers little solace, the Medical Examiner reported Jansen’s sudden passing was due to cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, cardiomegaly, also known as an enlarged heart, occurs when the heart has trouble pumping blood efficiently. As a result, a person with cardiomegaly has an increased risk of heart failure or stroke.
In the statement, Panettiere’s family went on to highlight some of the things that they loved about Jansen.
“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,” they wrote.
The family concluded their remarks by thanking their peers for sending messages of support.
“We sincerely appreciate the outpouring of love and support towards our family as we navigate this unthinkable loss, and ask that we 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.”
Just three weeks before his death, Jansen posted a black and white photo on Instagram of his sister trimming his hair. “Not the first haircut she’s tried to give me,” his caption read.
Similar to his older sister, Jansen has also worked in the entertainment industry. The actor is known for his roles in The Walking Dead and Ice Age: The Meltdown.