Former bandmates pay emotional tribute to George Michael at Brit Awards

Former bandmates of George Michael have paid an emotional tribute to him at last night’s Brits.

Andrew Ridgeley, who formed the other half of Wham!, was joined by the duo’s backing singers, Pepsi DeMacque and Shirlie Holliman, as he told the ceremony, “his legacy will resonate for years to come”.

Sharing stories of their early years growing up in London, he told the star-studded event: “We were two boys who shared a love of life-affirming music and a sense that we understood it.

“Careless Whisper was the song that got us signed, showed his extraordinary talent and the song which launched his solo career.

“He understood love, loss and grief and in his music, he helped to heal the wounds life left on us.”

Shirlie, who was moved to tears during the tribute, said how as a band, they would often hang out, listen to music and make up dance routines.

“These innocent moments became the seed from his amazing and enthralling showmanship was conceived,” she said.

“He was like a brother to me.”

Pepsi added: “We always knew that George was destined to become a star in his own right.

“George, Andrew and Shirlie changed my life by choosing me to join Wham!

“These three amazing friends took me into their fold and there was so much laughter, fun and kindness.

“They were truly wonderful times and I will always cherish them. George wrote from the heart and from his own experience and his fans have shared how his music changed their lives.”

Talking of his charity work, Shirlie said: “The side of George that was unknown was the help he gave to charities. He gave so many people the chance to change their lives and anyone who asked for help, invariably got it.

“I will always be so proud of his achievements. His wonderful way with words spoke to everyone and his beautiful voice will live on forever as a gift to us all.”

Adele recently paid tribute to the star at the Grammys where after a false start she gave an emotional rendition of Fastlove.

The star died on Christmas Day, aged 53.