Musicians, celebrities take to social media to pay tribute to George Michael

British singer George Michael performs on stage during his Symphonica tour concert in Berlin on Sept 5, 2011.
British singer George Michael performs on stage during his Symphonica tour concert in Berlin on Sept 5, 2011.PHOTO: REUTERS
British pop singer George Michael performing during his 25 Live concert at the Wembley Stadium in London.
British pop singer George Michael performing during his 25 Live concert at the Wembley Stadium in London. PHOTO: AFP
Singer George Michael performs during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on Aug 12, 2012.
Singer George Michael performs during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on Aug 12, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

The death of British singer George Michael over the Christmas period sparked an outpouring of shock and grief on social media, as other musicians and celebrities paid tribute to the former Wham! star.

Michael, 53, died at home, his publicist said in a statement on Sunday (Dec 25). “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

Among those who paid tribute were singer Elton John, comedian Ricky Gervais and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. 

Tributes came in from outside the music world too with football presenter and former England captain Gary Lineker , London Mayor Sadiq Khan and British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn expressing shock and sadness at the news. 

Michael's former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley also paid tribute, writing on Twitter that he was heartbroken at the loss of his "beloved friend".

Some commented on how 2016 had seen a host of high-profile celebrity deaths, including David Bowie and Alan Rickman.