George Michael’s Christmas Day death aged just 53 sent shockwaves across the world.
Now, four years to the day that the Wham! star passed away, his poignant last words to his fans are being remembered once more.
Back on 17 October 2012, Michael was in great form as he belted out his greatest hits to an adoring audience at a packed London’s Earls Court.
The cheering crowd yelled for more as the polished performance came to an end, with Michael telling them: “Thank you London, I love you. See you soon.”
Yet despite the singer’s plans, the show would ultimately be the legendary performer’s last live gig.
“You have made the last night f*****g perfect,” saluted Michael, after the Earl’s Court show.
“It has truly been a privilege to play with these musicians for the last year and we want to say a big thank you to you all.
“London, I love you so much. Sorry for making you wait to hear that; I hope it’s been worth the wait. Take care of yourselves.”
When he spoke, Michael was scheduled to take his 75 date Sympohinca tour to Australia following packed-out concerts in Europe and London.
But those proposed gigs were cancelled and the former Wham! frontman, who sold more than 80 million records worldwide, went on to struggle badly with his health in the years leading up to his death.
Michael suffered from a series of medical problems throughout his life and, in 2011, he was put into a temporary coma having contracted pneumonia.
He underwent an emergency tracheotomy operation to help him breath, with the serious concern that he not be able to ever sing again.
Then in May 2014 the singer suffered a “mystery collapse” at his home according to his then publicist and was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.
The 999 emergency was just one of many dramas during a colourful career spanning more than four decades.
But to his fans and his many friends in the music industry and across the world, Michael will be most fondly be remembered for his music, his artistic flair, charismatic personality and his generous charitable acts.
Fellow rock legend Elton John, one of Michael’s good friends, was shell-shocked by the singer’s death.
And at the time of Michael’s passing during the festive period, John posted on Twitter : “I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist.”
Michael died peacefully at his home in Goring-on Thames, Oxfordshire just before 2pm on Christmas Day.
And it wasn’t long before glowing tributes flooded in from around the world for the well-loved music icon.
He rose to fame as part of the 1980s pop group Wham!, whose top hits include Last Christmas, Wake Me Up….Before Yo Go Go and Club Tropicana.
He then went on to become a renowned solo artist in his own right, with his debut album Faith selling more than 20 million copies worldwide.
He achieved an impressive seven number one singles in the UK and eight number ones in the US.
His seemingly smooth transition to admired singer/songwriter captured the imagination of fans young and old.
Timeless ballads like Careless Whisper helped catapult him to worldwide super stardom in 1987, seeing the star mixing with celebrities and royalty during a distinguished career.
Michael won four Ivor Novello awards, two Grammys and three Brits – and heartbroken fans flooded to social media to express their grief at the time of his passing.
It’s expected many will do the same again this year to honour their hero on the fourth anniversary of his sad death.
One fan at the time of Michael’s death said on Twitter: “This really was his last Christmas. RIP George Michael.”
Another added: “Whole new meaning to his last Christmas song. So sad.”
One adoring fan reflected: “Gutted to hear George has passed away. RIP.”
And the tributes have kept pouring in from across the world with fans making sure he will not be forgotten, as well as many charities who Michael supported.
The Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV and Sexual Health charity, released a statement last year which read: “It’s 3 years since the world lost this musical giant. George was an amazing friend to us, raising money and helping to change the way people see HIV.
“Today we’re listening to George’s music and celebrating his incredible legacy. Gone but never forgotten.”
Fitting words for one of the world most-loved music stars.