George Michael’s former Wham! bandmates have paid an emotional tribute to the singer at the Brit awards.
Making a rare public appearance, Andrew Ridgeley said “it felt like the sky had fallen in”, when news of Michael’s death broke on Christmas Day.
“A supernova in a firmament of shining stars has been extinguished,” he added.
Wham! backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie blinked back tears during their speech. “I will never forget my wonderful friend,” said Shirlie Holliman.
“His beautiful voice will live on forever as a gift to us all,” added Pepsi DeMacque said.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin sang A Different Corner, backed by a full orchestra.
Halfway through the song, George Michael appeared on a video screen, his voice intertwining with Martin’s, as footage of the star (and of Prince, who also died last year) flashed around London’s O2 arena.
George Michael died on Christmas day but this is the first time his friends have had a chance to pay tribute, as a funeral is yet to take place.
Ridgeley said that Michael’s contribution to the “great archive of contemporary music lives among the immortals”.
“His legacy will continue to shine and resonate for generations to come. George has left for us in his songs, in the transcendental beauty of his voice, in the poetic expression of his soul, the very best of himself.
“I loved him, and in turn, we, you, have been loved.”