Wham! star Shirlie Holliman pays emotional tribute to George Michael

Wham! star Shirlie Holliman has paid an emotional tribute to George Michael.

The former backing singer has kept a low profile since the star’s death, opting to stay out of the limelight as rumours swirled about his death.

She has now opened up – revealing the Christmas Day death was a “massive shock”.

She said: “It was a shock, a massive shock for us all when he died.

“None of us were expecting it. He was good before he died, there was nothing wrong with him, so yes, it was a shock…

“George was someone who I loved and who loved me very much.

“I miss him and it is so sad for me, we knew each other for over 40 years and we laughed so much together and I have really special memories of him.”

The star died of natural causes according to the coroner’s report, despite months of tabloid speculation about drug abuse.

However his legacy has remained, with a new single, produced by Nile Rogers, released last week.

The former Pepsi and Shirlie singer told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “It makes me feel too sad. I can’t. It is too sensitive for me at the moment.

“I will do so in time. Every day I go online and I think I will listen to it but it is very sensitive. I will do when I’m ready.

“I think George would be happy that it’s out there.

“He loved making music for people to dance to, for people to enjoy, have fun, to make them smile.

“Music is George’s legacy. We grew up dancing to his music and he would want people to go out and buy his music and enjoy it in the same way we did.

“There are generations of people to come and enjoy him yet, that’s what he would love.”