Elton John pays tribute to 'brilliant' George Michael on his radio show

Elton John paid an emotional tribute to his longtime friend George Michael on his n Apple Beats 1 radio show last night (February 6). Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53, rose to fame in the 1980s as one half of a member of musical pop duo Wham!, before launching a solo career in 1987 with debut album Faith.  Elton John told listeners of Elton John's Rocket Hour that the 'Fast Love' singer was "not only was he a good friend, but he was probably one of the most brilliant songwriters this country’s ever produced, and certainly one of the best vocalists ever. One of the best in the world." He continued: “It was an amazing friendship based on music to start with, and I remember sitting in the car just off of Hyde Park listening to a cassette of ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ and I said, ‘George, that’s the nearest record I’ve heard to a Motown record for years and years.’ “It was such a great record, and he and I became great friends. I just want to remember him for his wonderful music and his kindness, which people are commenting on.” Praising George’s spirit as well as his talent, he added: “He was the kindest, most generous man, and did it without wanting any publicity. I’ve seen him being so kind to so many people. I’ll miss him so much for his music but more than anything for his humanity.” Michael, who was hospitalised with pneumonia in 2011 and had suffered a string of health issues in the years before his death, sold an estimated 80 million records worldwide and scored seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the US Billboard Hot 100. The 'Fast Love' singer was outed in 1998 after being arrested for “engaging in a lewd act” in a public toilet in Los Angeles, California. The star notably went on to parody the incident in the music video for his single ‘Outside’, released later that year. Read our official tribute to George Michael here. More stories: How Instagram became the new gay cruising ground ‘There’s more to me than just a body’ – Tom Daley dives into Attitude’s Body Issue