Wednesday 21 August 2019

'We've lost the kindest, most generous soul, a brilliant artist'

Marty Whelan
Marty Whelan

Conor Feehan and Chai Brady

Scores of celebrities, including Elton John and Madonna, have expressed their shock at the sudden passing of pop legend George Michael.

Friends paid tribute, recalling Michael's artistic genius and his compassion.

"I am in deep shock," Elton John said. "I have lost a beloved friend, the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans."

Former band mate Andrew Ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend".

Elton John Picture: Reuters
Elton John Picture: Reuters

Bryan Adams was reeling from the news, saying: "I can't believe it. Such an incredible singer and a lovely human being, far too young to leave us."

Pop icon Boy George said he was thinking of Michael's family.

"He was so loved, and I hope he knew it, because the sadness today is beyond words. Devastating," he said.

"What a beautiful voice he had, and his music will live on as a testament to his talent. I can't believe he is gone."

Chic's Nile Rodgers described him as "an absolute genius", while Paloma Faith thanked him "for lighting our lives, paving the way and being yourself".

Comedian David Walliams said Michael was "a deeply private man with an awe-inspiring talent that couldn't help but make him a superstar".

Closer to home, well-known Irish broadcasters, singers and actors also paid tribute to Michael's genius.

RTÉ broadcaster Marty Whelan interviewed Wham! at the height of their popularity in 1984 for TV series 'Video File'.

The Lyric FM host said he was stunned when he heard news of Michael's death, saying he was an immense talent with "inherent magnetism".

"I interviewed Wham! when they were at the height of their fame," Whelan told the Irish Independent.

"George seemed slightly shy at first, but he had this charisma and aura about him.

"Andrew did most of the talking, but George definitely had the magnetism."

Whelan also attended Wham!'s last concert at Wembley Stadium in 1986. "It was hysteria - everyone was screaming. But he put on a fantastic show," he said.

Singer Brian Kennedy said the news had left him reeling.

"I'm wandering around in a daze and I can hardly speak. He was such a young man, and it makes us realise that life is for living," he said.

"2016 has taken so many icons, and I was genuinely shocked to hear about George Michael. He was a huge talent."

Kennedy added that Michael's untimely death put "things into perspective".

Robert Arkins, star of 'The Commitments' described it as "another unbelievable shock for music fans".

"Unfortunately, his place in pop history as a legend songwriter and performer has come too soon," he said.

Other stars took to social media to express their grief.

Andrew Hozier said he was "sad to hear of George Michael's passing" and extended his sympathies to Michael's friends and family.

He added that it was a "particularly difficult time to lose someone".

Irish Independent

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