Sony and Warner lead tributes to George Michael
By Chris Cooke | Published on Monday 26 December 2016
Sony Music and Warner/Chappell have led a flood of tributes for George Michael, who died yesterday aged 53.
Even in a year when the headlines were too often dominated by the passing of a pop music legend, Michael’s death still shocked many yesterday. The South Central Ambulance service was called to the singer songwriter’s Oxfordshire home at lunch time. Police told reporters that “at this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious”, while his manager later stated that the star had died of heart failure.
Michael’s death was confirmed by his publicist, who told reporters: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage”.
The boss of Michael’s publisher Warner/Chappell, Jon Platt, was amongst the plethora of music people to pay tribute over night. He said: “We are all deeply saddened to hear that George Michael has passed away. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and his friends. We join millions of fans in mourning the untimely passing of this towering talent. He was the epitome of the consummate pop star, a singer songwriter who enthralled the world, always keeping us guessing where his music would take us next”.
He went on: “After the global phenomenon of Wham!, George transformed himself and his art, emerging as a solo superstar who then tirelessly broke new ground and set higher standards. He was an artist in every sense – a soulful vocalist, an unforgettable performer and, above all, a uniquely gifted songwriter. From pop tunes to dance anthems, from confessional ballads to social commentary, he perfected almost every kind of song, creating too many timeless hits to mention. His music will entertain, move, comfort and inspire people for generations to come. We will miss you”.
On the recordings side, Michael returned to Sony Music in 2003 after falling out with the major in a high profile legal battle a decade earlier. It released what was to be his final studio album ‘Patience’ the following year. The record company said last night: “George Michael was a supremely gifted artist and a true music icon. Sony Music had the privilege to have worked with him over several decades on a number of his legendary releases, and we join the world in mourning the loss of a great superstar. Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time”.