Entertainment & Arts

George Michael: Fans share memories

Debbie Rodgers and George Michael Image copyright Debbie Rogers

Millions of fans around the world have been left devastated by the death of pop superstar George Michael. Here is a flavour of some of the hundreds of messages sent to the BBC sharing memories and expressing sympathy.

'Kindest man'

Debbie Rogers (pictured above) met George Michael in southern France in 1984. He was recording Wham's second album, Make It Big.

Debbie said he was "the kindest man and so talented". She recalled him humming a tune repeatedly and asked him what it was. "He only had part of the chorus at the time, Last Christmas I gave you my heart. It became a Christmas classic. I am so sad that he is gone and that this was his last Christmas."

'Special passenger'

Vicki Hassett Gray from the UK, worked as a purser for British Airways in the 1980s and 1990s. On one of her flights from Los Angeles to London, a special passenger was on board. It was George Michael, described by Vicki as "gracious, polite and friendly".

"When he had boarded I had taken a large hanging wardrobe off him and forgot to give it back to him when we arrived at London. All the passengers had disembarked and I was getting ready to leave when George Michael appeared in the cabin and I cheekily asked him: 'Have you come to say goodbye to me properly George?' I got a kiss and a hug and he wasn't a bit cross that I'd forgotten his bag."

Image copyright AP

'My escape'

For Adina Sadeanu, from Romania, George Michael's songs acted as a rescue and means of escape during difficult times. She wrote: "It was in 1990, one year after the Romanian Revolution. I was 17 and I had to go for a surgery that kept me in the hospital for weeks.

"One of my very few joys was listening to George Michael and Roxette. I listened to Freedom and Careless Whisper over and over. I never got tired of his music. He gave me joy. He made me dream. He was my escape to another universe, far away from the pain and sorrow that surrounded me."

Posters defiance

Fer Kaka, from Johannesburg, (pictured below) wrote: "Growing up in a strict religious family, we weren't allowed to have posters on our wall. However, as a 10-year-old girl, I'd save up all my money to buy George Michael posters and my very first cassette. I hung his posters up in my bedroom defying all odds."

Image copyright Fer Kaka

Translation conundrum

Tatiana Namyślak grew up in Poland and English was not her first language. She wrote: "I still remember the embarrassed look on my tutor's face when I asked her to translate Love Machine for me. It wasn't easy for her to understand the music.

"I still have these albums which I'd always asked my dad to buy for me. They were unavailable in Poland, and I could always count on him to bring the new releases for me as was he a seaman."

Image copyright Tatiana Namyślak

'Gentle whisper'

Charlize Snoox had known George Michael since the 1980s. She said he was reasonably insecure about his looks. "George only loved one side of his face and in social gatherings he always used to sit with his 'good side' to us," she recalls.

She remembers him as being extremely gentle. "Whenever George says goodbye to me, he never shook hands. He would always take my face in his hands and gently whisper in my ear 'take care' and then give me a kiss on the cheek."

Wedding dance

Cyndi Nahas, from the US, said George Michael's songs remind her of many events in her life.

"When I was six years old my very first cassette was Wham! Make It Big. It is still in my old cassette player unmoved. I remember singing Faith with my friends on the swing sets in elementary school, falling asleep to Praying for Time in high school, walking to class in college to Fastlove, and dancing my first dance with my husband at my wedding a year-and-a-half ago to GM's creamy voice covering Stevie Wonder's You and I."

Image copyright Tatiana Namyślak

Walk and talk

Sarah Broad from the UK, recalled meeting George Michael in London. She wrote: "I met George just a corner away from Harrods, a week before Christmas 1986. He obligingly signed autographs for a handful of people, me included. Once finished, he was walking my way, behind me, so I asked if we could walk together. He agreed and we chatted for about 5-10 minutes until we reached his property. He wished me a Merry Christmas and beamed that beautiful smile!"

'Symbol of freedom'

For Theophilus Ghoststone, from Ohio, George Michael was a symbol of progression and freedom. He wrote: "When the video Wake Me Up Before You Go Go came out, I was mesmerized by George and his gold earrings. I loved his style, his talent and his beautiful voice. I never met the man, but he changed my life for the better and hope he has found peace."

Produced by Faisal Irshaid, UGC & Social news team

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