Entertainment

'Kind and gentle soul': George Michael remembered by entertainment world

Actors, models and fellow singers share warm anecdotes and kind words over social media following the sudden death of British pop singer George Michael on Christmas Day.

Former Wham singer lauded as gay icon, musical inspiration and 'generous soul' after dying Christmas Day

Michael had experienced health problems in recent years. His former partner, Kenny Goss, has said he thinks the musician's body 'just gave up.' (Evert Elzinga/AFP/Getty Images)

Actors, models and fellow singers are sharing warm anecdotes and kind words over social media following the sudden death of British pop singer George Michael on Christmas Day.

Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, died at his home in Goring, England, from heart failure, according to his manager.

On Monday, fans placed flowers and other tributes at Michael's homes in north London and Goring, England.

On Instagram, fellow British pop singer Elton John called him a "beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist."

Actor and writer Stephen Merchant remembered Michael as "good-humoured and self-deprecating" when they worked together on the TV show Extras.

Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds remarked on how kind and giving Michael was. Reynolds called him "a kind and gentle soul," while Canadian rocker Bryan Adams called the Careless Whispers crooner "a lovely human being."

James Corden, a British comedian, recalled how Michael was the first guest to perform Carpool Karaoke with him, a segment that became an ongoing popular skit on Corden's Late, Late Show.

"Not only was he a great singer and songwriter, he was incredibly funny too," Corden said.

'This year has just been too much'

Some, including actor Guy Pearce, noted Michael was among a list of great musicians and artists who have died in 2016, saying on Twitter, "This year has just been too much." Among others lost in 2016, fellow British music icon David Bowie, 69, died in New York City in January following a secret battle with cancer, American rocker Prince, 57, died in the spring in what has been linked to a fentanyl overdose, and Quebec singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, 82, passed away in November in his sleep after falling in his home in Los Angeles.

Linda Evangelista, a Canadian model who appeared in Michael's Freedom '90 music video, said on Instagram after Michael's death was announced that she was "devastated by another tragic loss," while British band Duran Duran tweeted, "2016 — loss of another talented soul."

'Gay icon'

A lot of people have also mentioned Michael's standing in the LGBT community, with gay British MP Wes Streeting tweeting, "We've lost a great gay icon."

Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara, both of whom are gay, wrote on Instagram that Michael was "a big inspiration," adding a rainbow emoji in the post.

Actor and LGBT activist George Takei said, "Rest with the glittering stars, George Michael."

Former Beatle Paul McCartney, 74, posted a statement on his website praising Michael's "sweet soul music," which he said will live on.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney posted this picture of himself with Michael on his website. 'Having worked with him on a number of occasions, his great talent always shone through and his self-deprecating sense of humour made the experience even more pleasurable,' said McCartney, 74. (paulmccartney.com)

"Having worked with him on a number of occasions, his great talent always shone through and his self-deprecating sense of humour made the experience even more pleasurable," said McCartney.

Several British charities revealed that the man with the reputation for self-indulgence had actually given millions of pounds to charities that helped children, cancer victims and AIDS sufferers.

Among the groups he supported were the Terrence Higgins Trust, which helps people with AIDS, Macmillan Cancer Support and Childline, which offers confidential phone counselling for young people.

Childline founder Esther Rantzen said Michael gave royalties from his 1996 hit Jesus To A Child to the charity along with many other donations.

"Over the years he gave us millions and we were planning next year, as part of our 30th-anniversary celebrations, to create, we hoped, a big concert in tribute to him — to his artistry, to his wonderful musicality, but also to thank him for the hundreds of thousands of children he helped." 

She said Michael was determined to keep his contributions secret.

Michael made many donations and gifts, including the royalties of his Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me duet with Elton John in 1991 to the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Michael had spoken publicly about the pain of losing a partner to AIDS early in the epidemic, but he kept his long history of donations to the Trust private.

With files from The Associated Press