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I found Michael dead in bed, says partner

AAP logoAAP 27/12/2016

George Michael's Australian-born partner has revealed he was the one who found the British pop superstar dead in bed on Christmas Day.

The 53-year-old is suspected to have died of heart failure and his death is being treated by UK police as "unexplained but not suspicious".

Fadi Fawaz, who Michael began seeing after spliting from Kenny Goss in 2009, said he found the star, adding that they had been looking forward to Christmas.

Fawaz arrived at Michael's house to wake him ahead of plans to go for Christmas lunch.

"I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don't know what happened yet," he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the UK.

"Everything had been very complicated recently, but George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I.

"Now everything is ruined. I want people to remember him the way he was - he was a beautiful person."

Fawaz has since posted a tribute on Twitter describing the moment he found Michael: "Its a xmas i will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning..I will never stop missing you xx."

In the day after his death it emerged the star had quietly donated millions to charities, gave a stranger money for IVF treatment and anonymously volunteered at a homeless shelter.

The singer - whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou - sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.

Big names from the world of entertainment paid tribute after hearing about his death, which comes in a year that has seen the music industry lose some of its biggest stars including Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

Elton John posted a photograph of himself and Michael on Instagram, writing: "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans."

Michael's former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog", an affectionate nickname used for the star.

He said: "Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx."

Michael formed Wham! with Ridgeley in 1981, and went on to massive success, releasing a string of hit singles including Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do), Club Tropicana and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.

They were the first Western pop act to visit China when they played there in 1985, before splitting in 1986, by which time Michael had already released a handful of solo singles.

Tributes outside the home of late singer George Michael in London © Provided by AAP Tributes outside the home of late singer George Michael in London

Fans and neighbours gathered at his homes in Highgate, north London and Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire to pay tribute to an artist they described as a "huge inspiration".

Currently six of Michael's albums and four singles feature in the top 100 iTunes chart, while Wham!'s Last Christmas is number one in Spotify's UK Top 50.

Meanwhile, Michael was due to release a new album next year and had reportedly already written songs for the record.

Producer Naughty Boy confirmed he was working on the album, saying he was "excited" about the collaboration.

His sixth and ultimately last studio album was Symphonica in 2014.

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