Stars Celebrate 'Inspiration' George Michael On What Would Have Been His 60th Birthday

Sir Elton John and Sam Smith are among those who paid their respects to the trailblazing singer.
George Michael performing in 1999
George Michael performing in 1999
Piers Allardyce/Shutterstock

Those who knew and were inspired by George Michael celebrated his life on Sunday, in honour of what would have been his 60th birthday.

During his headline performance at Glastonbury over the weekend, Sir Elton John took a moment to remember his late friend.

Introducing the song Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – on which he famously duetted with George in the early 1990s – Sir Elton told the crowd: “[George] was an inspiration, and today would have been his 60th birthday.

“So, I want to dedicate this song to his memory, and all the music which he left us with, which is so gorgeous. This is for you George.”

Sam Smith – who has repeatedly named George as one of their biggest inspirations – also took a moment to pay their respects on Instagram.

“Happy birthday to the greatest,” they wrote. “It’s George Michael’s 60th AND Pride!! What a day.”

Meanwhile, a post on the late Aretha Franklin’s Twitter account also wished George a “happy heavenly birthday”.

George and Aretha duetted on the iconic I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) in 1986.

Another of George’s collaborators, Jody Watley, also shared tributes, as did fellow singers Joe McElderry and Callum Scott.

In his lifetime, George achieved seven number one singles as a solo artist, as well as picking up two Grammys and five Brit Awards.

He died on Christmas Day in 2016 at the age of 53, with tributes remembering him as a trailblazing figure in the music industry.

Following his death, many stories about his quiet generosity also began circulating, which The Big Issue – with whom George worked closely in his lifetime – also chose to shine a light on in a new tribute recognising the singer’s milestone birthday.

George Michael in 2012
George Michael in 2012
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

“George Michael was as generous with his money and his fame as he was with his prodigious talent,” they said.

“Music lovers were left bereft when Michael died aged 53 on Christmas Day 2016. As the desperately sad news filtered out, so did stories of the star’s generosity.”

They concluded: “George Michael was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but as these stories show, his legacy extends way beyond his music.”


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