George Michael: Stars React to the Wham! Singer's Death

PHOTO: British singer-songwriter George Michael, of Wham!, in a Sydney hotel room during the pop duos 1985 world tour, Jan. 1985.PlayMichael Putland/Getty Images
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George Michael was found dead on Christmas Day, sparking an outpouring of support from his friends and others in the entertainment industry.

Elton John was one of the first to publicly mourn Michael, whose death, according to local police, is seen as "unexplained but not suspicious."

"I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist," he wrote in an Instagram post. "My heart goes out to his family, friends and all of his fans. @GeorgeMichael #RIP"

Michael's publicist released a statement Sunday evening, confirming that the 53-year-old singer had died.

"It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period," the statement read. "The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

"Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog," former Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley tweeted shortly after the news broke. "Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx"

On Monday, Sam Smith broke his Twitter silence to share how much Michael meant to him.

"@GeorgeMichael. Words can’t express how much you and your music meant and means to me," he wrote. "Please play his music as loud as you can today...& celebrate one of the most magical, talented, bravest & important figures in music & life as I know it. Your music & message will live on."

He added, "I would not be the artist I am if it wasn’t for you."

Other stars reacted publicly too. Their sentiments are below.

i bought Listen Without Prejudice the day it came out, which happened to be my 15th birthday. even when i put it on now, hearing the opening chords of “praying for time”—the opening tune, i can picture the exact shade of yellow paint that covered my teenage bedroom. it all comes back to me in pure technicolour. that’s how much of a mark that song left on me. i had never heard a musical language quite like that before. later, when i discovered the 70’s masterworks of Stevie Wonder, i started to understood where George got it from. but at that point, to my naive musical knowledge, it blew the doors open. it prepared me for Stevie in a way. later on, as a DJ in hip-hop clubs in New York City in the late 90’s, George/Wham’s “Everything She Wants” was one of maybe three or four tunes by white artists that you could follow MJ, Frankie Beverly or Roy Ayers with. the keyboard lick from “Father Figure” comprised the bones for the Jungle Bros.’ classic, underground club destroyer “J Beez Comin’ Through”. So while “Faith” and the like made George a global phenom, another side of his genius as singer, writer, producer and arranger made him a bonafide giant of soul music. as did most soul afficionados, George had a huge affinity for the music of Amy Winehouse. i imagine  he felt more than a little kindred spiritness to some of the personal stuff too. Anyway, as a result of my ties to Amy, he called me once. i was on holiday exactly around this time 9 years ago. he told me he had a few soulful tunes left off of Faith that he never got to finish and asked if i would be interested in working on them. i remember one of the songs was absolutely flooring, as good as any pop/soul ballad of the era. i said of course i would be interested—all the while in complete disbelief that i was actually on the phone with GEORGE MICHAEL. i don’t know why, for some reason it never materialized. i hope one day i might get to, but i really dreamed of being in the room with him while i did. this is a tough day in a brutal year. but i'm so grateful for what he left us xxx

A photo posted by Mark Ronson (@iammarkronson) on Dec 25, 2016 at 4:49pm PST