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Hayden Panettiere and her family are remembering her late brother and actor Jansen in their first public statement since the Walking Dead actor died suddenly at 28 last week.
In a statement to ABC News, Jansen’s family — including sister and Scream 6 star Hayden, his father Skip and mother Lesley Vogel — celebrated the young performer’s charisma, warmth and compassion. They also championed his many talents beyond the screen, including his appreciation for the visual arts.
“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 told ABC News. “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.”
The family also revealed Jansen’s cause of death as cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, coupled with aortic valve complications. When his passing was first reported on Feb. 21, the cause of death was unknown.
The family ended their statement by giving thanks to those who have shown them support while sharing that Jansen will be with them forever.
“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,” they said. “We love you so much Jansen and you will be in our hearts forever.”
The actor got his Hollywood start in the early 2000s, appearing on Disney and Nickelodeon staples like Even Stevens and Blue’s Clues. He also had smaller parts on adult procedurals and sitcoms like Third Watch and Hope & Faith. He would go on to be a voice actor for the big and small screen, with parts in Robots, Racing Stripes, Holly Hobbie & Friends and Ice Age: The Meltdown.
He would become a series regular on the Nickelodeon animated show The X’s and was also known for that network’s original movie The Last Day of Summer. Beyond roles in major series like Everybody Hates Chris, Major Crimes and The Walking Dead, he appeared onscreen with sister Hayden twice. The first time, in 2005, saw him and his sister team up on the Disney Channel movie Tiger Cruise, and the second, in 2015, saw both appearing in adult drama The Forger.
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