- Read more: George Michael obituary: 1963-2016
George Michael passed away on Christmas Day in 2016 at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. He was 53 years old.
In a new book titled Wham! George Michael & Me, the singer-songwriter’s former bandmate Andrew Ridgeley pays tribute to him. In it he recalls the moment he found out that Michael had passed away.
View this post on Instagram
Dear All, I’m very pleased to share with you, the news that my memoir Wham! George & Me will be published in the UK this October. In it I cover my school years with George, through the halcyon days of WHAM!, to our Final concert at Wembley. It’s a story of a dream and the scrapes, laughs and lives of two best friends, the good and the glorious. I hope you’ll get as much pleasure from it as I have. Link to pre-order in my bio.
Ridgeley reveals that he sent Michael a text message on Christmas Day to thank him for a gift he had sent and to wish him a happy holiday. Five minutes later, Ridgeley received a phone call from Michael’s sister Melanie.
“I honestly thought she was calling to wish me a happy Christmas, or maybe she was with George and the family, and they were ringing to arrange a get-together,” Ridgeley writes. “There was certainly nothing to hint at the awful news that followed — that George had passed away.”
He continues: “The news hit me like a punch to the gut. It was as if my world had been pulled out from underneath me. I put down the phone and, doubled over in grief, began to sob…I felt crushed by sadness.”
George Michael died of natural causes, suffering from a dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the coroner revealed in March 2017.
Ridgeley admits that he struggled with his former bandmate’s cause of death for some time.
“The circumstances of how he had died seemed unclear, which made the grieving seem even terribly raw — there was no way of getting any real closure,” he says in the book. “A heart condition was eventually recorded as the cause of death, but there were still a number of questions. He seemed to be in good health at the time and there are conflicting reports surrounding the night that preceded his passing. It now seems as if we may never know what really happened.”
Also starring Emma Thompson and Henry Golding, the anticipated rom-com is themed around the music of Michael and has only recently finished filming in London.