Monday, 26 December 2016

Floral tributes laid out for George Michael


Fans gathered in silence outside the north London home of George Michael on Monday following his death aged 53, speaking emotionally about the late pop superstar whose music touched millions.

“He died so young!” said Karen Walkden, 52, who brought a message to the large red-brick mansion on a leafy square in the upmarket Highgate area.

“It was my generation, it’s absolutely shocking,” said Walkden, who came from nearby Finchley, to the posh neighbourhood adjoining Hampstead Heath.

Michael was found dead on Sunday at his other home in Goring, a village on the River Thames west of London.

“Everybody who’s been important to me has been ripped away this year — David Bowie, Victoria Wood,” Walkden said, referring to the late rock legend and a much-loved British comedian who also died in 2016.

She said she often listened while driving to Michael, who shot to fame in the pop duo Wham! with a string of hits including “Last Christmas”, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Whisper”.

“He had so many strong songs. I wanted to share some of them on Facebook but how can you stop? There are so many,” Walkden said in front of a growing collection of roses and lilies, candles and notes.

“You have been loved, you were loved, you will be loved. We grew up with you and you spoke for us,” read one note. Another said: “You are a beautiful soul who shone a bright light in this world”.

“Shocked and sad… He was a great talent, person and community member,” read a note stuck to a yellow bucket containing a plant of small pink roses.

— ‘He shaped my life’ —

One man quietly kissed his hand and then placed it on a card laid on the pavement outside the house.

Fans since the early 1990s, Michael and Dample Keen, 30 and 32, told AFP they were “shocked”.

Mags Sorrell, 60, said she had seen Michael performing in concert around a dozen times.

“On the stage, he looked at his happiest,” she said.

“He was not only a singer, he was an artist. He was an amazing songwriter,” she said.

Leandros Kalisperas, 39, who said that he like Michael was of a Greek Cyrpiot background from north London, brought flowers, a candle and a note.

“He shaped my life,” he said, wiping away a tear.

Kalisperas remembered first listening to George Michael as a child in his older brother’s room.

“For me there was no one else that can take us to that high, joyous place,” said Kalisperas, adding that he saw George Michael in concert several times.

“Where do you find such a hero in our community?” he said.

Similar floral tributes were being paid in Goring.

One card, signed “Tracy”, said: “Dear George, My heart is broken, you have gone too soon. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world”.

Another said simply: “We will miss you”.

Michael had been working on a documentary about his life and a new album due to be released next year.

Kalisperas said: “I hope he has left something for us!”

Source: AFP