Family says 28-year-old Jansen Panettiere died suddenly of enlarged heart, Hayden Panettiere honors ‘brilliant’ brother

Jansen Panettiere’s cause of death has been revealed after the 28-year-old died suddenly last month.

Jansen Panettiere, the younger brother of actress Hayden Panettiere, died unexpectedly on Feb. 19 at his apartment in Nyack, New York. Friends of the actor found Jansen “sitting upright in a chair unresponsive.” The friends attempted to revive Panettiere with CPR, but were unsuccessful. EMTs pronounced Panettiere dead at the scene.

Jansen’s father, Alan “Skip” Panettiere, noted that he talked to his son on the phone the night before and thought he “sounded okay.”

The Panettiere family divulged that Jansen suddenly 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,” the family said in a statement to ABC News.

“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,” the family said in the tribute to the actor turned artist.

“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. We love you so much Jansen and you will be in our hearts forever,” said his family — his father, mother Lesley Vogel, and sister Hayden Panettiere.

The Cleveland Clinic describes an enlarged heart as a “heart that’s bigger than what is typical.”

“Your heart may be unusually thick or dilated (stretched). An enlarged heart may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause,” the Cleveland Clinic explains. “Cardiomegaly can happen to your whole heart or just parts of it. Heart enlargement can be your heart’s reaction to something that forces it to use more effort to circulate blood.”

According to the Mayo Clinic: “An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) can be caused by damage to the heart muscle or any condition that makes the heart pump harder than usual, including pregnancy.”

The Mayo Clinic lists several medical conditions associated with an enlarged heart, such as damage from a heart attack, high blood pressure, low red blood cell count, diseases of the heart muscle and valves, unusual accumulation of protein deposits in the heart, thyroid issues, and heart conditions that have been present since birth.

Dr. Shriprasad R. Deshpande, medical director of the Heart Transplant and Advanced Cardiac Therapies Program at Children’s National Hospital, told Yahoo Entertainment the possible symptoms of an enlarged heart.

“There may be a decrease in exercise capacity, they may have a fast heartbeat, and sometimes they may experience syncope (blackout/passing out),” Deshpande said. “In children, the only presenting symptom may be breathing problems and stomach pains or loss of appetite. Serious presentations are sudden cardiac arrest, which may result in sudden death.”

Jansen Panettiere was a painter and an actor who appeared in “The Walking Dead,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Even Stevens,” “Perfect Game,” and the animated Nickelodeon series “The X’s.” Jansen most recently appeared in the 2022 holiday movie “Love and Love Not.”

Jansen and his celebrity sister Hayden Panettiere appeared together in the 2004 TV movie “Tiger Cruise” and in the “Racing Stripes” animated TV show in 2005.

Just weeks before his death, Jansen posted a photo on Instagram of his older sister giving him a haircut.

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