Tributes from all corners of the music industry have come pouring in after the shock news that legendary British songwriter/performer George Michael had died aged 53.
Michael's partner in 1980s pop band Wham! Andrew Ridgeley said on Twitter: "Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx"
Sony Music, the company for which George Michael recorded much of his music, from Wham! to his solo recordings, including multi-platinum selling Faith, excluding 1996's Older and 1999's Songs From The Last Century (Virgin), issued the following statement: "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."
On behalf of Warner/Chappell Music, to whom Michael was signed for publishing, chairman and CEO Jon Platt 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 added: "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. Rest In Peace, George."
At the time of his death, Michael was signed to Universal. The company issued the following statement: "We’re in shock at the loss of one of the greatest singer songwriters. The brilliance of his music, the soundtrack to so many lives, will live for ever.
"Our deepest condolences to George’s family and friends from everyone at Universal Music."
The BPI issued a statement reading: "The BPI, like so many of its industry colleagues across the recorded music sector and countless millions of fans around the globe, is deeply saddened by the unexpected and untimely passing of George Michael. George was not only one of the great, popular voices of our age, that brought so much pleasure to many, he was also a hugely talented songwriter and an iconic performer, who made an exceptional contribution to British music at home and worldwide – accounting for around 100 million record sales.
“George left us all far too soon, but he leaves a rich legacy of classic songs and recordings that will entertain, move and inspire generations to come. We offer our profound condolences to George’s family, friends, label colleagues and his legions of fans."
Michael's success had crossed over to the US in the 1980s, first as Wham!, then as a solo artist, earning him two Grammy Awards. His 1987 album Faith was certified ten times platinum by the RIAA for sales in excess of 10 million units. The 2000 compilation Ladies And Gentlemen, The Best Of George Michael went double platinum, as did 1990's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol.1, while 1996's Older went platinum.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of two-time Grammy Award recipient George Michael," said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy. "During an influential career that spanned nearly four decades, George became one of the most beloved pop craftsmen and respected entertainers. From the enormous success he achieved with pop duo Wham! to his influential solo career, his extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless entertainers worldwide, and his creative contributions will live on forever. We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family, friends, and musical collaborators. He will be missed."
Nigel Elderton, European President for peermusic, wrote on Twitter: "So very sad to hear the news that George Michael has passed away peacefully at his home. A great artist and songwriter greatly missed!!"
TV presenter James Corden, whose hugely popular Carpool Karaoke feature was born after Michael appeared on an early version as part of a Comic Relief, tweeted: "I've loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time."
Songwriter Diane Warren reacted on Twitter: "Fuck not George Michael. WTF with U 2016??? Such a fucking great talent and nice guy. Fuck."
OneRepublic tweeted: "R.I.P George Michael. Beyond sad, you were a legend, and you were far too young. Blasting "Last Christmas" now."
Fellow pop icon and close friend of Michael, Elton John, wrote: "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. RIP @GeorgeMichael."
Beatles legend Paul McCartney said: “George Michael’s sweet soul music will live on after his sudden death. Having worked with him on a number of occasions his great talent always shone through and his self-deprecating sense of humour made the experience more pleasurable.”
Meanwhile, Madonna tweeted: "Farewell My Friend! ???????? Another Great Artist leaves us. ???? Can 2016 Fuck Off NOW?"
UK singer Sam Smith also took to Twitter to pay tribute: "@GeorgeMichael. Words can't express how much you and your music meant and means to me. Please play his music as loud as you can today..."
Duran Duran tweeted: "2016 - loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to @GeorgeMichael's family."
Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson also paid his respects, tweeting: "Very sad to hear that George Michael passed. He was a very talented musician and singer. Love & mercy to his family, friends and fans."
Electro-pop pioneers Pet Shop Boys said of Michael's death: "Dear George, gone too soon. It's so sad. Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Love, Neil and Chris x #PetText"
UK dance duo Disclosure tweeted: "Another incredible talent gone. Thank you for all the music Mr George Michael. Thoughts with your family and friends..."
You can read the Music Week obituary here.