George Michael’s family and close friends have thanked fans for their tributes over the past two days and reiterated that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.
The statement by Michael’s publicist read: “The family and close friends of George have been touched beyond words by the incredible outpouring of love for him in the hours and days since his death.
“For someone whose life was ultimately about his music and the love he had for his family and friends, his fans and the world at large, there could be no more fitting tribute than the many, many, kind words that have been said and the numerous plays his records have received.
“Contrary to some reports, there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, and from the bottom of our hearts we thank those who, rightly, have chosen to celebrate his life and legacy at this most distressing of times.”
The comments come as Fadi Fawaz, the performer’s partner, said he will never forget the moment he found the singer’s body in his home in Oxfordshire on Christmas morning. Fawaz, a celebrity hairdresser, began dating Michael five years ago.
The couple had planned to go for Christmas lunch before the singer’s shock death on Sunday at the age of 53. Fawaz recalled how he had gone round to the home in the village of Goring-on-Thames merely to get his partner out of bed.
“I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We don’t know what happened yet. Everything had been very complicated recently, but George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I.
“Now everything is ruined. I want people to remember him the way he was — he was a beautiful person.”
Michael’s former long-term partner, Kenny Goss, also described the star as an “extremely kind and generous man”. In a statement, Goss, who was in a relationship with Michael from 1996 to 2009, said he was heartbroken at the news.
“He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much,” Goss said. “The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him.”
Fans have been gathering outside Michael’s Oxfordshire home, as well as his house in Highgate, north London, to lay flowers and candles at his doorstep.
His manager, Michael Lippman, said the singer was found “in bed, lying peacefully” early on Christmas morning, having apparently died from heart failure.
Thames Valley police attended the scene at about lunchtime on Sunday, later saying that they regarded the death as “unexplained, but not suspicious”.
The announcement stunned friends and fellow musicians, a number of whom said they had seen Michael in the past few days, apparently without cause for concern, and according to Lippman the singer had not been unwell.
Michael struggled with depression throughout his career, and once said he spent more than a decade “in darkness”, turning to Prozac and cannabis. He almost died in 2011 after falling ill with pneumonia while on tour in Germany, and was taken to hospital in 2013 after falling out of his moving car on the M1 motorway. He again spent time in hospital with an undisclosed illness the following year.
The star had several plans for the coming year, including working on a documentary about his life, entitled Freedom, due to be released in March along with a reissue of his album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1.
The latest chart data reveals that since news of his death broke, Michael’s extensive back catalog has attracted huge interest from music fans.
The iTunes chart has the best-of compilation Ladies & Gentlemen as its No 1 album, with three further entries covering Michael’s solo career and releases with Wham! featuring in the top 10.
This includes solo album Twenty Five at number six, and Wham! records The Final and its deluxe edition featuring at five and 10 respectively.
Meanwhile, the singles chart shows the ballad Careless Whisper, one of Michael’s best-known hits, just outside the top 10 at 12.
On Monday, Spotify said streams of Michael’s solo music had risen globally by more than 3,100 per cent.