Hayden Panettiere And Family Break Silence After Her Brother Jansen Panettiere’s Death At 28

Jansen Panettiere in The Martial Arts Kid
(Image credit: Traditionz Entertainment)

The Hollywood community and the public as a whole received some incredibly tragic news last week. Jansen Panettiere, the younger brother of actress Hayden Panettiere, was confirmed to have passed away at the age of 28. After the former child actor’s death became public knowledge, fans took to social media to send their condolences to the family. Jansen’s relatives didn’t provide comment when the news broke last Monday. However, Hayden and the rest of the brood have broken their silence and paid tribute to the late star. 

Hayden Panettiere and her family honored Jansen in a statement that was released this morning. The message, which was obtained by ABC News, includes fond remembrances of the former Disney Channel star. The group also lovely described the kind of person Jansen was: 

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.

One can’t even begin to imagine what the Panettiere family must be going through right now. At the very least, however, It must be somewhat cathartic to be able to memorialize their loved one in this way. Later on in the statement, they also confirmed that the actor died from an enlarged heart:

Though it offers little solace, the Medical Examiner reported Jansen's sudden passing was due to cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications.

Jansen Panettiere reportedly passed away in New York the weekend before last. Last week, it was said that authorities received a call on Sunday, February 20, around 5:30 p.m. News outlets alleged, at the time, that there was no sign of foul play.

During his career, the late actor notched a number of significant credits but began his career as a Disney kid, earning a guest spot on Even Stevens and co-starring in the acclaimed Disney Channel Original Movie Tiger Cruise a few years later alongside his sister. He’d also carve out a place for himself as a voice actor, lending his pipes to shows and movies such as Blue’s Clues, The X’s, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Robots. Among his other live-action productions are The Walking Dead, sports drama The Perfect Game, The Martial Arts Kid and How High 2.

He was also incredibly close to older sister Hayden and posted about her on his Instagram a little over a month ago. Hayden, who is set to appear in Scream 6 next month, has been open about her personal life on several occasions. The Kirby Reed actress has been candid about being a mother and dealing with addiction. She’s usually one to speak her mind and, when it comes to the statement she and her family shared on Jansen, you can’t help but shed a tear.

We here at CinemaBlend continue to extend our condolences to the entire Panettiere family during this difficult time.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.