Every Christmas fans of George Michael remember the superstar singer’s death, poignantly linked to one of his most famous record records.
On December 25th 2016, the Wham! singer’s death made shock headlines around the world as it was reported George had died suddenly at the age of 53.
Tributes flooded in from celebrity friends and admirers while devastated fans began to be leave flowers and cards outside George’s home in Goring-on Thames, where his body had been found by partner Fadi Fawaz.
On Christmas morning, Fadi went to wake up George but found his lifeless body in bed.
In a statement, Fadi said: “We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch. 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.”
He later tweeted: “It’s a Xmas I will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning… I will never stop missing you xx”
George’s death was initially recorded as unexplained but not suspicious by police after an initial post mortem came back as inconclusive.
It wasn’t until weeks later in March that George’s friends and family finally got to lay the singer to rest when the official finding into his cause of death were delayed while the coroner examined the toxicology test results.
George’s former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley spoke to the Mirror at the time about the strain of waiting for the coroner to release George’s body for burial was having on his loved ones.
“We’ve not had closure,” said Andrew. “It’s difficult for me, it’s difficult for everyone. It’s a limbo period and we need to be able to move on.”
At the hearing in March, a coroner ruled that George died of natural causes from dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle, which causes the muscle to become stretched and thin over time, which affects how blood can be pumped around the body.
In some cases, it can be an inherited disease, but other causes of dilated cardiomyopathy include viral infections, uncontrolled high blood pressure, excessive drinking or existing problems with the heart valves.
George’s former partner Kenny Goss said that he believed the pop star’s body simply ‘gave up’.
In an interview with the Sunday Mirror at the time, Kenny said: “I can’t say for sure but I think his body just gave up. All these years, it was just weak.”
Texan art dealer Kenny flew to England to help George’s relatives through the sudden tragedy and was also one of a very close circle invited to attend the memorial service.
“I’ll be there for the funeral,” said Kenny. “We just want closure, we want the funeral to happen, it’s been a long time now.”
After the inquest, George was finally laid to rest in a private ceremony attended by only his closest friends and family.
He is buried at Highgate Cemetery in north London, on one side of his mother Leslie’s grave.
His sister Melanie Panayiotou, who died exactly three year after her brother, is buried on the other side.
Melanie was found on Christmas Day 2019 at her home in Hampstead North London, which had previously been owned by brother George.
A mystery hung over the coincidental circumstances for months, with one family friend claiming Melanie had ‘died of a broken heart’ after never getting over losing George.
An inquest in March found that Melanie died after falling into a diabetic coma as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Before she died, Melanie took it upon herself to send annual letters to George’s fans thanking them for their continued support of his legacy.
In 2020, sister Yioda took over the tradition.
In her first messages, she thanked George’s fans for the ‘huge comfort’ they provided to her after losing her two younger siblings.
Yioda said in the coming year the family would be ‘swerving the bad and enjoying the good as much as we can.’
George Michael is one of the best-selling artists of all time after rising to fame as a member of pop duo Wham! in the 1980s and going on to lead a hugely successful solo career.
The north London born star formed duo Wham! in 1981 with Andrew Ridgeley with their first two albums Fantastic and Make It Big reaching number one on the UK Album Chart.
In 1984 George debuted his first solo single Careless Whisper, which reached number one in over 20 countries, including the UK and US.
His album Faith, released in 1987, topped the UK Albums Chart and staying at number one on the the US Billboard 200 for 12 weeks.
His second solo record Listen Without Prejudice also hit the UK number one spot and was followed up by two more multimillion-selling albums, Older in 1996 and 2004’s Patience.
H/T : Mirror