Skip to content

Hayden Panettiere's Family Reveals Jansen Panettiere's Cause of Death

The family of Jansen Panettiere reveals how the 28-year-old died.

Jansen Panettiere, 28, died February 19th and the cause of death has been determined: an enlarged heart and aortic valve complications. His sister actress Hayden Panettiere, along with her mother Lesley Vogel, and father Alan Lee "Skip" Panettiere released a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly that shared, "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 Panettiere family said. "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." Read on to learn more about the younger brother of the Nashville star. 

Jansen and His Father Spoke Shortly Before His Death

Mark Sullivan/WireImage

Skip Panettiere thought everything was fine with his son until he got the unexpected news. He arrived on the scene in the aftermath of his son's untimely death. According to an Orangetown Police Department report obtained by PEOPLE,  Skip Panettiere spoke to his son hours before his son died. The report states, "he spoke to [the] deceased via telephone the night before, and he sounded okay." 

A Friend Found Jansen and Called Authorities

Jansen Panettiere/Instagram

Panettiere was scheduled to attend a business meeting, and when he failed to appear, his friend Benjamin Brown went to his Nyack apartment in New York to check in on him. When he arrived, Brown found Panettiere in his living room, "sitting upright in a chair unresponsive." Although he was not breathing and was cold to the touch, Brown performed CPR until first responders arrived.

The report stated that Panettiere was lying on his back on the floor of the living room when EMTs entered the residence and pronounced him dead. He was transported to the Rockland County morgue, according to the report.

Jansen Panettiere Was an Actor and Followed in His Sister Hayden's Footsteps


Jansen Panettiere was five years younger than his sister Hayden and started his career in the early 2000s. He did a number of TV and film credits, including appearances on the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens and in the movies Tiger Cruise and Racing Stripes opposite his sister. In addition, he was also seen in The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, The Perfect Game, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Everybody Hates Chris, and How High 2. Panettiere also recently starred as Casper, a member of the Hilltop community, on The Walking Dead and had four upcoming projects scheduled, according to his IMDB page

Jansen Loved Art and Painted

Jansen Panettiere/Instagram

While Panettiere worked as an actor and had Hollywood aspirations, he also loved painting and often shared his work on Instagram. According to his website, art was a way to cope with anxiety. "After spending time in LA as an adult he was ridden with terrible anxiety and depression; this period in his life eventually produced a spiritual clarity that drove him to start painting his problems, one by one. With more than 50 pieces, Jansen continues to heal himself as well as others with his visceral and emotive work."

The Family is Asking for Privacy

Jansen Panettiere/Instagram

In their statement released to various media outlets, the family is asking for privacy during this time. "Though it offers little solace, the Medical Examiner reported Jansen's sudden passing was due to cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications. 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 family concluded, "We love you so much Jansen and you will be in our hearts forever." 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
Filed Under