George Michael’s family have asked fans to remove their tributes from outside the late singer’s former homes for the sake of his neighbours.
Fans of the Wham! star have left tributes at his homes in Highgate, London and Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, creating memorial areas filled with flowers, messages and candles among other items after his death in 2016.
Michael’s sisters Mel and Yioda, his father Jack and friend David Austin wrote on the music star’s official website that they have been “touched by your many tributes celebrating and remembering Yog, reminding us how very much he is missed and loved”.
“However, we feel we cannot expect our Highgate and Goring neighbours to continue to accept as normality, the memorials so personal to you all, to remain as and where they are any longer, although we do appreciate your recent efforts to minimise their impact.”
They ask those who paid their respects remove their tributes by the weekend of May 26/27, so both properties can be returned “to their former simple state”.
They added, calling him by his nickname: “Yog liked his privacy, his homes were true havens for him (such a Cancerian!) and, ultimately, long term, we know he would not want to disturb or change the quiet neighbourhoods he so loved, for the people in the local area, who honestly, despite reports otherwise, have been gracious and very understanding.”
Michael’s relatives and friend asked that his fans, referred to as “lovelies”, instead make a donation or volunteer at a charity, adding that it would be a “fitting tribute”.
“We like, whenever we are charged with making decisions in Yog’s name, to think ‘what would Yog do’, and the family will continue to take decisions as we think he would have done,” they wrote.
Michael was found dead aged 53 on Christmas Day 2016 at his Goring-on-Thames home.
A post-mortem later found he had died from heart disease and a build-up of fat in his liver, which can be linked to drug and alcohol abuse.