George Michael's family 'touched by outpouring of love' from fans


George Michael's family and close friends have been "touched beyond words by the incredible outpouring of love" from fans since the pop star's tragic death, his publicist has said.

In a statement, she praised the "many, many kind words" and airplay given to his hits since the 53-year-old singer died at his home in Oxfordshire.

George Michael (Chris Radburn PA Wire/PA Images)
George Michael (Chris Radburn PA Wire/PA Images)

The statement also said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death on Christmas Day, which was reported to have been caused by heart failure.

It came as crowds of people continued to gather at the star's London home on Tuesday to lay flowers as a mark of respect.

The statement read: "The family and close friends of George have been touched beyond words by the incredible outpouring of love for him in the hours and days since his death.

 Flowers left at George Michael's home (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Flowers left at George Michael's home (Andrew Matthews/PA)

"For someone whose life was ultimately about his music and the love he had for his family and friends, his fans and the world at large, there could be no more fitting tribute than the many, many, kind words that have been said and the numerous plays his records have received.

"Contrary to some reports, there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and from the bottom of our hearts we thank those who, rightly, have chosen to celebrate his life and legacy at this most distressing of times.?"

The superstar, who had hits across four decades, had earlier been described as a "beautiful person" and a "kind and generous man" after he was found dead in bed.

His former long-term partner Kenny Goss said he was devastated at the death, which is being treated by police as "unexplained but not suspicious".

Tributes continued to be left at his home in Highgate, north London. Others had been laid at his house in the village of Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, where he was discovered on Sunday.

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

Fadi Fawaz, who began seeing Michael following his split from Goss, said he found the star dead when he arrived to wake him ahead of a planned Christmas Day lunch.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don't know what happened yet.

"Everything had been very complicated recently but George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I.

"Now everything is ruined. I want people to remember him the way he was - he was a beautiful person."

George officially announced in 2011 that his 15-year relationship with Kenny had ended - but said the pair had actually split around two years earlier.

George Michael performs on stage (Max Nash/PA)
George Michael (Max Nash/PA)

Their relationship was first revealed when George came out as gay after being arrested in public toilets in Beverly Hills, California, in 1998 for engaging in a lewd act.

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."

After his death, it emerged George had quietly donated millions of pounds to charities, gave a stranger money for IVF treatment and anonymously volunteered at a homeless shelter.

The singer - whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou - sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career.

His death came in a year which has seen the music industry lose some of its biggest stars including Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael (PA)
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael (PA)

George's former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog", an affectionate nickname used for the star.

He said: "Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx."

George formed Wham! with Andrew in 1981, and went on to massive success, releasing a string of hit singles including Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do), Club Tropicana and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.

They were the first western pop act to visit China when they played there in 1985, before splitting in 1986, by which time George had already released a handful of solo singles.