22/02/2017 21:28 GMT | Updated 23/02/2017 07:07 GMT

Brit Awards 2017: Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi And Shirlie's Tribute To George Michael Was The Most Emotional Moment Of The Night

'A supernova in a ferment of shining stars had been extinguished.'

George Michael’s former Wham! bandmates struggled to hold back tears as they paid an emotional tribute to him at the Brit Awards

Andrew Ridgeley appeared on stage during Wednesday’s (22 February) night ceremony, alongside former bandmates Pepsi and Shirlie, to honour him on music’s big night, following his death last year.  

The trio each recalled their fond memories of working with the late star with a heartfelt speech at The O2 Arena in London, before introducing a musical tribute from Coldplay’s Chris Martin

Andrew Ridgeley with Pepsi and Shirlie at the Brits

Describing him as “the greatest singer/songwriter of his generation”, “an icon of his era” and his “beloved friend”, Andrew said: “On Christmas Day 2016, the greatest singer songwriter of his generation, an icon of his era, and my beloved friend, George Michael, was lost.

“A supernova in a ferment of shining stars had been extinguished, and it felt like the sky had fallen in. We larked around and laughed a lot, we were the best of friends,’

“George’s contribution to the great archive of contemporary music rests alongside the immortals,” he continued. 

Andrew paid tribute to his former bandmate
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Shirlie Kemp became emotional during the speech

“George has left for us in his songs, in the transcendental beauty of his voice, and poetic expression of his soul, the very best of himself.

“I loved him and in return, we, you, have been loved.”

Fighting back tears, Shirlie Kemp added: “George was like a brother to me. And will always be … His wonderful way with words spoke to everyone. And his beautiful voice will live on forever as a gift to us all.”

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George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in their Wham! days

In the lead up to this year’s Brits, bosses had confirmed George would be honoured on the night, with speculation about who would perform quickly following.

George was found dead at his home on Christmas Day, at the age of 53.

Thames Valley Police later confirmed a post-mortem examination into the cause of his death has been inconclusive.

In the immediate aftermath of his death, tributes form George’s collaborators, fans and admirers poured out online, and Elton John later lamented his passing during a Las Vegas concert, breaking down during a rendition of their duet, ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’.

For all the winners from this year’s Brits click here.

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