The family of Jansen Panettiere confirmed to ABC News that the 28-year-old actor’s sudden passing was due to “cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), coupled with aortic valve complications.”
Jansen, the brother of actress Hayden Panettiere, died over President’s Day weekend in New York.
“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,” the family’s statement continued. “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.”
Jansen and his sister Hayden co-starred in the 2004 Disney Channel movie “Tiger Cruise” and the 2012 Josh Hutcherson film “The Forger.” He also voiced a young zebra in her Warner Bros. 2005 family film “Racing Stripes.”
Jansen made his acting debut in an episode of the Disney Channel series “Even Stevens” and went on to appear on shows including “Blue’s Clues,” “Major Crimes” and “The Walking Dead.” He also voiced characters in the animated feature films “Robots” and “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and in Nickelodeon’s “Holly Hobbie and Friends” specials.
He was nominated for a Young Artist Award for his lead role in “The Last Day of Summer.” He also costarred with Gavin MacLeod in the 2008 faith-based film “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry” and with Clifton Collins Jr. in 2009’s “The Perfect Game.”
He was born Sep. 25, 1994, in Palisades, New York, to Lesley Vogel, a former soap opera actress, and Alan Lee “Skip” Panettiere, a fire department lieutenant.