George Michael an 'extremely kind and generous man', ex-partner Kenny Goss says

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George Michael's former partner Kenny Goss has spoken of his heartbreak at the pop superstar's shock death.

The 53-year-old musician, who was discovered dead on Christmas Day, was described by Kenny as "an extremely kind and generous man".

George, who rose to fame as the front man of Wham! and had chart-topping hits including Last Christmas and Freedom, is suspected to have died of heart failure.

(Myung Jung Kim/PA )
Kenny Goss and George Michael in 2004 (Myung Jung Kim/PA )

The star officially announced in 2011 that his turbulent 15-year relationship with Kenny had ended - though he said that the pair had actually split around two years earlier.

In a statement, Kenny said: "I'm heartbroken with the news that my dear friend and long time love George Michael has passed.

"He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. He was an extremely kind and generous man.The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him."

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
People have been paying tribute outside George's house (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The couple's relationship was revealed when George was forced to come out as gay after being arrested in public toilets in Beverly Hills, California, in 1998 for engaging in a lewd act.

George's death, which is being treated by police as "unexplained but not suspicious", has prompted an outpouring of shock and sadness from celebrity friends and fans.

The cause of the star's death was heart failure, according to his manager Michael Lippman, while his publicist said he "passed away peacefully at home".