Queen’s Brian May has shared a touching tribute to George Michael, who died suddenly at the age of 53, saying that he should sing with the late Freddie Mercury “and the Angels” now.
The rock star worked with Michael in the 1990s and wrote a message on his website, condemning the year for “cruelly” taking so many “fine people way too young”.
His message read: “I just saw the sad news about George Michael as I was heading for bed.
“I don’t have the words. This year has cruelly taken so many fine people way too young.
“And George? That gentle boy? All that beautiful talent? Can’t begin to compute this. RIP George.
“Sing with Freddie. And the Angels.”
Other tributes poured in from stars of the music world and across other facets of the entertainment industry, after the Faith hitmaker died from suspected heart failure.
Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp and his wife Shirlie – a backing singer for Wham! with her musical partner Helen “Pepsi” DeMacque as part of the act Pepsi & Shirlie – have both paid tribute to Michael.
Martin wrote on Twitter: “My whole family and I are devastated at the loss of our beautiful friend Yog! We will miss him so much! We are all heartbroken!”
Shirlie wrote that she is “beyond heartbroken”.
She added: “Words cannot express how sad we all are, only last week I saw him laughing and happy. My heart is broken to lose someone so special.”
My whole family and I are devestated at the loss of our beautiful friend Yog! We will miss him so much! We are all heartbroken!— Martin Kemp (@realmartinkemp) December 26, 2016
Words can not express how sad we all are, only last week I saw him laughing and happy. My heart is broken to loose someone so special.— Shirlie Kemp (@Shirliekemp) December 26, 2016
Brit and Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sam Smith took to the social networking site to share a tribute for George, who influenced his career.
He wrote: “@GeorgeMichael. Words can’t express how much you and your music meant and means to me. Please play his music as loud as you can today…
“& celebrate one of the most magical, talented, bravest & important figures in music & life as I know it. Your music & message will live on.”
I would not be the artist I am if it wasn't for you. @GeorgeMichael— Sam Smith (@samsmith) December 26, 2016
Sam added: “I would not be the artist I am if it wasn’t for you. @GeorgeMichael.”
Music mogul and X Factor boss Simon Cowell tweeted that the singer was “always one of the greatest”.
Singer and former Pop Idol star Gareth Gates recalled meeting George, writing on Twitter: “Such a sad day. We lose another legend. I met George Michael a couple of times. He was such a lovely man, and what a talent. Rest in peace x.”
Rest in peace George. You were always one of the greatest.— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) December 26, 2016
Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson wrote: “So sorry to hear about George Michael’s passing. Brilliant icon. “Kissing a Fool” one of my all time favs. Strength & light to his family.”
Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood said: “What a shock. Sad to hear George Michael has left us.”
Singer Anastacia, who recently appeared in Strictly Come Dancing, tweeted that “2016 has lost so many greats”.
She added: “It’s so sad George Michael has to join the list of Icons we had to say goodbye to too soon.”
2016 has lost so many greats. It's so sad George Michael has to join the list of Icons we had to say goodbye to too soon. pic.twitter.com/7DEUcdIeSn— Anastacia (@AnastaciaMusic) December 26, 2016
Richard Coles, former member of 1980s band the Communards, wrote on Twitter: “Oh poor George, our paths crossed a few times in the 80s and I found him such a lovable and talented man #georgemichael.”
Music producer Steve Levine, who worked with Boy George-fronted group Culture Club, appeared on BBC Radio 2 to pay tribute to Michael, whose path he had crossed several times over the years.
He said: “(George) was incredibly shy, but also incredibly generous. On a lot of those tracks were the A-list of musicians.
“His influences from the 1970s, funk and soul musicians, he incorporated into the recordings he made and he was very respectful for their contributions.
“We’ll miss him but his music will go on for generations.”
Former Steps band-member Ian ‘H’ Watkins added to the litany of Twitter tributes, writing: “I’ll never forget meeting George Michael at the MTV awards. What an incredible man and a brilliant talent. Gone way too soon #RIPGeorge.”
An official statement from Universal Music UK – the record label George was signed to before his death – read: “We’re in shock at the loss of one of the greatest singer songwriters. The brilliance of his music, the soundtrack to so many lives, will live for ever.
“Our deepest condolences to George’s family and friends from everyone at Universal Music.”