Picture: Insasse/Creative Commons
He was a pop legend adored by millions of fans around the world and with a host of famous friends, well-known for his close family ties. George Michael’s tragic death broke countless hearts around the world, but his funeral is set to be a quiet affair, attended by the close family he loved and valued.
It’s reported he will be buried in a family burial plot at Highgate Cemetery, next to his beloved mother, Lesley, who died in 1997.
The famous north London cemetery is already a place of pilgrimage and contemplation for people wishing to pay their respects to high profile individuals including Karl Marx, writer Douglas Adams, punk impresario Malcolm McLaren and actor Sir Ralph Richardson.
Preparations for George Michael’s funeral were held back for over two months until post-mortem tests were carried out on the singer, who was found dead in his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day. They revealed that the Careless Whisper singer, 53, died from natural causes.
It’s speculated that two funeral ceremonies will be held for George, so that the family and close friends who held him dear can say goodbye in a very private funeral ceremony.
A second memorial ceremony would give his wider circle of friends the opportunity to celebrate his life and it’s been rumoured that Sir Elton John may play a musical tribute to the star.
In common with music stars including Prince and David Bowie, who achieved legendary status during their lifetimes, details of George Michael’s private funeral have been kept well under wraps by his family.
David Bowie was cremated very shortly after his death from cancer in January 2016, with no funeral service or public memorial ceremony held for him – at the singer’s own behest.
However, five celebrity-studded Celebrating David Bowie tribute shows were played at venues and live-streamed around the world, to mark the first anniversary of his death this year. Singers, rock stars and even actor Gary Oldman joined musicians who had collaborated with Bowie during his career, to perform his music.
Prince was quietly cremated shortly after his death on April 21 last year, with his closest family members in attendance. A funeral ceremony, was held at the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall in Minnetonka, Minnesota, in May, by friends and fellow-members of his church, who sang the funeral hymn, He Will Call.
The funeral programme quoted lyrics from the Prince song, Beautiful, Loved and Blessed: “If I were ever to write my life story, I could truly say through all the pain and glory, I was just a piece of clay in need of the potter's hand.”
Many George Michael fans, including the thousands who laid flowers outside his Oxfordshire and Hampstead homes in December, are hoping for details of a public tribute to the singer, in which they can play their part.
Besides his musical legacy, details have already been shared of the star’s quiet and generous kindnesses to strangers, since his death. Among them are Jo Maidstone’s story of the ‘miracle’ daughter she says she owes to IVF funded by George Michael. It emerged he was the mystery benefactor who sent £15,000 to pay for her longed-for fertility treatment, after she appeared on a TV chat show.