George Michael‘s family have asked fans to remove tributes from outside the late star’s former homes.
After the pop legend passed away on Christmas Day in 2016, his fans – known affectionately as “lovelies” – began creating memorials outside his houses in Highgate, London, and Goring-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire.
In a post on his official website, George Michael’s father Jack Panos, sisters Mel and Yioda Panayiotou, and his friend David Austin requested that fans help them restore the properties to their “simple state”.
“Our family feel, that the time has now come to share some decisions we have taken around our new reality, and situation since we lost Yog. That means we have had to come to decisions about many issues, some of which are more sensitive than others,” it begins. “We’ve been touched by your many tributes celebrating and remembering Yog, reminding us how very much he is missed and loved.” their post begins, using one of the star’s nicknames.
“We feel we cannot expect our Highgate and Goring neighbours to continue to accept as normality, the memorials so personal to you all, to remain as and where they are any longer, although we do appreciate your recent efforts to minimise their impact,” the statement continues.
“Yog liked his privacy, his homes were true havens for him (such a Cancerian!) and, ultimately, long term, we know he would not want to disturb or change the quiet neighbourhoods he so loved,” they add, “for the people in the local area, who honestly, despite reports otherwise, have been gracious and very understanding.”
They have asked fans to “leave any [tributes] you wish us to have”, and to collect anything they wish to keep by May 27.
George Michael’s family are urging fans to instead make a donation or volunteer in memory of the artist. “As many people have now discovered,” they say, “Yog did a lot of quiet giving over many years. Perhaps in his memory, you may want to ‘pay it forward’ and support, through either volunteering, or by way of donation, one of his favourite charities which, so many of you have already done to fantastic effect, or maybe some ‘random acts of kindness’ would be a fitting tribute. Sometimes it’s those little thoughtful things, which feel so good to do, that can really make someone’s day.”