Madonna, El­ton John lead tributes for Ge­orge Michael

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Madonna and El­ton John led tributes from around the world for Bri­tish pop star Ge­orge Michael, who died at his home near Lon­don on Sun­day aged 53. "Farewell my Friend! An­other Great Artist leaves us. Can 2016 F***k 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".

Michael shot to fame with the 1980s band Wham! and sold over 100 mil­lion al­bums in his ca­reer, win­ning two Gram­mies and three Brit awards. Re­fer­ring to him by his nick­name "Yog" (Yours Only Ge­orge), Wham! co-star An­drew Ridge­ley said he was "heart­bro­ken" by Michael's death. Many re­ac­tions re­ferred to the spate of mu­sic world deaths in 2016, start­ing with David Bowie in Jan­uary. Singers Prince and Leonard Co­hen also died this year and Sta­tus Quo gui­tarist Rick Parfitt passed away on Satur­day in a Span­ish hos­pi­tal.

"2016 - loss of an­other tal­ented soul. All our love and sym­pa­thy to Ge­orge Michael's fam­ily," the band Du­ran Du­ran, who were 1980s con­tem­po­raries of Wham!, said on their of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count. Span­dau Bal­let, a Bri­tish band which formed in the late 1970s, wrote: "We are in­cred­i­bly sad at the pass­ing of our dear friend Ge­orge Michael. A bril­liant artist & great song­writer." Newer pop stars also paid trib­ute to the in­flu­en­tial Lon­don-born artist, who was plan­ning to re­lease a new al­bum and a doc­u­men­tary next year.

"Oh God no... I love you Ge­orge... Rest in peace," wrote pop star Rob­bie Wil­liams, while fel­low singer Pixie Lott paid trib­ute on Twit­ter to the "beau­ti­ful and tal­ented" Michael. In the United States, Record­ing Acad­emy pres­i­dent Neil Port­now said he was "deeply sad­dened" by the loss. "Dur­ing an in­flu­en­tial ca­reer that spanned nearly four decades, Ge­orge be­came one of the most beloved pop crafts­men and re­spected en­ter­tain­ers," said Port­now, whose or­ga­ni­za­tion awards the Gram­mies. "From the enor­mous suc­cess he achieved with pop duo Wham! to his in­flu­en­tial solo ca­reer, his ex­tra­or­di­nary ta­lent had a pro­found im­pact on count­less en­ter­tain­ers world­wide, and his cre­ative con­tri­bu­tions will live on for­ever," he said.

Cana­dian mu­si­cian Bryan Adams tweeted: "I can't be­lieve it. Such an in­cred­i­ble singer and a lovely hu­man be­ing, far too young to leave us." US singer La Toya Jackson wrote: "You have given the world an amaz­ing gift! What a ta­lent! What a loss!".

'Your mu­sic will live on'

Tributes came in from out­side the mu­sic world too. Foot­ball pre­sen­ter and for­mer Eng­land cap­tain Gary Lineker tweeted: "No, not Ge­orge Michael as well. An­other mu­si­cal great leaves us this year. 2016 can just sod off." "Star Trek" ac­tor Ge­orge Takei re­ferred to some of Michael's great­est hits in a tweet, writ­ing: "Rest with the glit­ter­ing stars, Ge­orge Michael. You've found your Free­dom, your Faith. It was your Last Christ­mas, and we shall miss you." Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan said Michael "brought joy to mil­lions of us" and Bri­tish op­po­si­tion Labour Party leader Jeremy Cor­byn hailed Michael as a "strong sup­porter" of gay and work­ers' rights.

Fol­low­ing years of spec­u­la­tion about his sex­u­al­ity, Michael came out as gay in 1998 af­ter be­ing ar­rested for com­mit­ting a lewd act in the pub­lic toi­let of a Los An­ge­les park. The gay rights char­ity Stonewall said: "You in­spired many and your mu­sic will live on in the hearts of the com­mu­nity. You will be sorely missed." — AFP

In this July 13, 1985, Bri­tain's Princess Diana meets singers El­ton John, cen­ter, and Ge­orge Michael, right, on her ar­rival at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in Lon­don for the Live Aid famine re­lief con­cert for Africa.

This file photo taken on Au­gust 24, 2010 shows Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael (cen­ter), leav­ing af­ter ap­pear­ing at High­bury Cor­ner Mag­is­trates Court in Lon­don.

In this Wed­nes­day, May, 11, 2011 file photo, Ge­orge Michael poses for the cam­eras at an event to an­nounce his Euro­pean Or­ches­tral tour in Lon­don.

Peo­ple ar­rive with bunches of flow­ers to lay in trib­ute out­side the north Lon­don home of Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael af­ter news of the singer's death broke.

This file photo taken on Au­gust 12, 2012 shows Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael per­form­ing dur­ing the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the 2012 Lon­don Olympic Games at the Olympic sta­dium in Lon­don.

In this Fri­day, Dec 23, 2011 file photo, Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael leaves his house in north Lon­don, af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a life-threat­en­ing bout with pneu­mo­nia that kept him in a Vi­enna hos­pi­tal for a month.

This file photo taken on De­cem­ber 23, 2011 shows Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael talk­ing about his re­cent ill­ness out­side his home in Hamp­stead in Lon­don.

Mes­sages and can­dles are seen among flo­ral tributes out­side the north Lon­don home of Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael yes­ter­day, af­ter news of the singer's death broke.

This file photo taken on Septem­ber 6, 1997 shows pop stars Ge­orge Michael (left) and El­ton John (right) leav­ing West­min­ster Abbey fol­low­ing the fu­neral ser­vice of Diana, Princess of Wales.

This file photo taken on May 11, 2011 shows Bri­tish singer Ge­orge Michael at­tend­ing a press con­fer­ence at the Royal Opera House, cen­tral Lon­don.

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