George Michael’s family pay emotional tribute on anniversary of his death

British singer George Michael performs on stage during a charity gala for the benefit of Sidaction, at the Opera Garnier in Paris, on September 9, 2012. Sidaction is a charity event which aims to collect money for the struggle against AIDS virus. AFP PHOTO MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/GettyImages)

George Michael’s family have made a rare public comment to pay tribute to the late singer.

The Wham! star died on Christmas Day 2016 of natural causes.

Michael’s sisters Melanie and Yioda and their dad Jack said issued a statement calling on fans to celebrate his life a year on.

(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

“This Christmas will be hard without him, but we know that we are not alone in our mourning the anniversary of his loss,” they said in a statement.

“Christmas is not always easy, life isn’t perfect and families are complicated.

“So if you can, in his memory this year, take a moment and a deep breath and say those ‘I love yous’ out loud.”

BERLIN, Germany: British pop star George Michael poses as he walks over the red carpet prior the screening of "George Michael - A Different Story" at the Berlin Film Festival 16 February 2005. The film, directed by Southan Morris and presented out of competition, is a documentary featuring the life, career and politics of the iconic pop star. AFP PHOTO DDP/MICHAEL KAPPELER GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)


Thousands of fans have paid tribute in the last week by downloading his festive anthem, Last Christmas, in a bid to make it number one.

The campaign ultimately missed out on the top spot, coming in at number three, with Ed Sheehan taking the Christmas number one.

Since his sudden death, the outside of the mansion has become a shrine to the late singer.

The path outside of his house has been filled with thousands of gifts and tributes to George Michael from people from around the world.

But neighbours of have hit out at the shrine.

(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The shrine has attracted the attention of the Highgate Conservation Area advisory committee, a local group that aims to “preserve and enhance the character of the area.

Chair of the group Susan Rose told the Daily Star: “One wonders what George Michael would think of it all outside the beautiful home that he looked after so well, and right where he erected a wonderful Christmas tree every year.”

1984: British singer songwriter George Michael, lead singer of the pop group Wham!, with the group's guitarist Andrew Ridgeley at the film premiere of the hit 'Dune'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (Getty)

She continued: “I think a statue would be great. A lot of people in Highgate would like a permanent memorial rather than mounds of dead flowers.”

A similar shrine was erected outside of Michael’s home in Oxfordshire at the time of his death.

Early reports speculated that Michael’s death was substance-related, but the death was later confirmed to be by natural causes.

Geri Horner, a close friend of the Michael, spoke out on the controversy last week.

The Spice Girl formerly known as ‘Ginger Spice’ said: “Well what I do know is that George loved his fans and he really cared about his fans, so I really hear that they want to celebrate him and rejoice in him.

“So bearing that in mind… but equally you’ve got to respect the family and he cared about his neighbours and he liked to keep things simple.”

The fan-made shrine outside of Michael’s London mansion (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

She continued: “So perhaps there is a compromise of pleasing everybody, and my suggestion is let’s talk about him, let’s celebrate him through his music.

“If there is something to be done, possibly look at Abbey Road Studios, or a studio in north London, maybe a plaque… something simple and understated.

“I think he’d be very flattered but we do need to respect the family’s wishes.”