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Hayden Panettiere's Brother Jansen Was Popping Painkillers ‘Like Gumballs,’ Claim Insiders

Hayden Panettiere's Brother Jansen Was Popping Painkillers ‘Like Gumballs,’ Claim Insiders

Jansen Panettiere was reportedly struggling with addiction before his death.

As we’ve been reporting, Hayden Panettiere‘s younger brother was found dead in his apartment in New York on Sunday. Jansen’s friends grew concerned after he never showed up for a scheduled business meeting that day. When his pals went to check on the 28-year-old, they found him unresponsive in a chair, called 911, and began CPR. However, their efforts were in vain — he was pronounced dead on arrival by EMTs.

While an official cause of death has not been determined, sources have come forward to shed some light on what life had been like for Jansen before this tragedy. According to on Wednesday, the Even Stevens alum’s neighbors shared they had assumed he passed away from an overdose — as he had been addicted to opioids, believed to be Oxycodone, for years. They claimed he would pop prescription painkillers “like gumballs” and was often seen coming home to his apartment in Nyack, New York, early in the morning appearing “shabbily dressed” and “wasted.” One recalled to the outlet:

“He’d come out of a car at 4 am wasted. He said he was just coming back from a shoot. He looked destroyed.”


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The neighbor had overall lovely things to say about Jansen. They insisted The Walking Dead star was a “regular, friendly” and “unpretentious” person who wouldn’t always talk about Hayden or his work as an actor:

“He was very nice guy, very friendly, he was an artist and an actor. Very friendly and generous; he would always offer me help.”

But one day, Jansen suddenly disappeared from the apartment for “a good year.” The neighbor said:

“When he moved out of here; he disappeared. Then his father came and got his stuff out and said I have to get him out of here. Then he left for a year.”

The reason for his mysterious disappearance? He was allegedly getting treatment for drug addiction. Eventually, Jansen “resurfaced” at some point last year but never came back to his old apartment building since he moved to a new one a few blocks away. Following the apparent stint in rehab, the neighbor noted that the artist seemed fine at first:

“When he left he probably went into rehab. He moved out, his dad grabbed his stuff. When he came back he looked okay in the beginning. He looked like a different person. He came back straightened up. Then he went downhill from there.”

Assuming Jansen completed treatment last year, he allegedly fell off the wagon in the past couple of months. An insider shared that the Ice Age: The Meltdown star was “having a rough time lately with his career” and felt like he was “being dragged in so many directions.” So, so sad. The artist opened up on his website about struggling with “terrible anxiety and depression” as an adult after living in El Lay for years, adding:

“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.”

What a heartbreaking situation. We continue to keep Hayden and the rest of Jansen’s loved ones in our thoughts during this difficult time.

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at or check out

[Image via Jansen Panettiere/Instagram, Hayden Panettiere/Instagram]

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Feb 22, 2023 12:13pm PDT