George Michael’s family have urged fans of the singer to tell their loved ones what they mean to them on the eve of the first anniversary of his death.
The ‘Careless Whisper’ singer was found dead at his home in Goring-in-Thames, Oxfordshire, by boyfriend Fadi Fawaz on Christmas Day last year.
One year on, George’s sisters Melanie and Yioda and their dad Jack said in a statement: “This Christmas will be hard without him, but we know that we are not alone in our mourning the anniversary of his loss.
“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.”
They added that it had been a “challenge” to hear ‘Last Christmas’ playing everywhere when they miss him so desperately.
They added: “This year has been a series of tough challenges for those of us close and loyal to Yog, not least steeling ourselves this month to hear Last Christmas and December Song streaming out of shops, cars and radios, as it has done for decades, knowing he’s no longer here with us, missing him.
“We are at ‘that age’ and realise many of you will have had difficult losses too.
“Yog, who loved Christmas and always hoped it would snow, would want each of you that admired and loved him (yes – he knows you did!!) to take a moment, raise a glass, enjoy his music and think of him fondly, making sure to enjoy your time with, and appreciate your family and friends.
“Yog shared his music with all of us and many of you connected deeply with his words. Have a good Christmas everyone. And as our darling Yog would say... take care.”
Earlier this year, three of George’s famous mates, Ricky Gervais, Tracey Emin and James Corden, reminisced about the first time they met him in outtakes that didn’t make the final cut of the Channel 4 documentary ’George Michael: Freedom’.