THE world was united in grief today following the tragic death of pop icon George Michael at his Oxfordshire home aged just 53, according to reports. Devastated fans left flowers and cards outside the Wham! singer’s homes as Elton John and Madonna led the tributes online.
The Careless Whisper singer tragically passed away at just 53 at his home in Goring on Christmas Day. Bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, Elton John and Madonna led tributes to the star. Referring to him by his nickname “Yog” (Yours Only George), Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken” by Michael’s death.
Ridgeley wrote: “Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved.” “Farewell my Friend! Another Great Artist leaves us. Can 2016 F*** Off NOW?” Madonna wrote in a post on Instagram accompanied by a video of her presenting Michael with an award.
Elton John also published a picture of himself with Michael, saying: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist”. Duran Duran posted: “2016 – loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichael’s family.”
Fellow popstar Boy George said: “I am thinking of @GeorgeMichael’s family, friends and fans right now. “He was so loved and I hope he knew it because the sadness today is beyond words. Devastating. “What a beautiful voice he had and his music will live on as a testament to his talent. I can’t believe he is gone.”
Fan Tony Fleming, who said he had met George on a number of occasions, was one of the many who came to leave floral tributes and light candles at his leafy Highgate home. Tony, 48, said: “He was such a lovely person and that just shine through the whole time.”
He added: “I will remember him as a brave person with so much talent. “He made positive change and gave people a lot of happiness and warmth. “I didn’t know him on a real great personal level, but we’ve crossed paths. Thames Valley Police said an ambulance attended a property in Goring, Oxfordshire, at 1.42pm on Christmas Day, adding that his death was being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious”.
It is understood paramedics had been called after Michael was discovered by a friend. In a statement, the star’s publicist said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.
“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. “There will be no further comment at this stage.” Michael’s longtime manager Michael Lippman told Billboard that the cause of death was believed to be heart failure.
The tragic final pictures of the music legend show the iconic Wham! singer looking tired and bloated. In September, George was pictured out in public for the final time at a restaurant close to his home in Goring, Oxfordshire. Sasha Gretsky, 38, said he had seen Michael him in a local restaurant around February or March and thought he did not look healthy.
“He didn’t look well. He looked quite haggard,” he said, adding that he looked older than his age. Fan Helen Bradbeer, from North London, said the star reminded her of her childhood as she paid tribute outside his home. Helen said: “I really grew up to his music. His music was a big part of my life.
“He was a very inspiring person and he did a lot for the LGBT movement. “I’ve never left a tribute like this to a celebrity before, but I thought I had to come down.” George’s childhood friend Andros GeorgiouI today paid an emotional tribute to George, saying the star wrote the soundtrack to many people’s lives.
Andros wrote on Facebook: “Yog was one of the best singer songwriters the UK has ever produced. He wrote some of the best songs period!” He added: “One thing I will always remember on the many tours I was privileged to be on, one minute he was on stage being George Michael…as soon as he got in the car he became Yog again.
“It always amazed me how he could do that after playing in front of 15,000 people. “I will miss him more than I can say. I still cant believe what has happened, thank you all for your kind words, he was truly loved. “RIP Yog you’re with the people you loved dearly now. I pray you’re looking down to see how much you meant to so many people.”
The singer had seven number one singles in the UK and enjoyed collaborations with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Sir Elton John and Queen, after the death of Freddie Mercury. Alongside Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley Michael enjoyed hit after hit, including Club Tropicana, Young Guns (Go For It) and Last Christmas.
But they decided to bow out at the top, pulling the plug on their partnership with a final chart-topping single The Edge Of Heaven in 1986 and triumphant Wembley shows. Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, London. He wanted to be a music star from an early age and busked on the London Underground before becoming a club DJ.
He found stardom with Wham! and the band’s first album Fantastic reached No1 in 1983. Michael’s album Faith – which has been remastered and later released in 2010 – was a massive success in 1988. But lengthy legal battles followed as he tried to free himself from a deal with record label Sony which effectively prevented new recordings (only to re-sign with them a few years later).
After years of refusing to be drawn on speculation about his sexuality, he was arrested in public toilets in Beverly Hills, California, in 1998 for engaging in a lewd act. The incident forced him to disclose his homosexuality and his relationship with American Kenny Goss.
He entered a period of semi-retirement in 2008, keeping out of the public eye. In the years prior to his semi retirement Michael’s turbulent personal life, drug use and brushes with the law had seen him hit the headlines.
He later said his late 20s had been a very depressing time for him after he lost his partner, Anselmo Feleppa, to HIV and his mother died some time later.