The family of George Michael has paid tribute to the late music legend on the first anniversary of his death.
In a touching letter shared on GeorgeMichael.com, the singer’s loved ones thanked fans for making the posthumous reissue of his record, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, number one and opened up about the difficulty of hearing his holiday hit, “Last Christmas,” during the festive season.
“This year has been a series of new and tough challenges for those of us close and loyal to Yog, not least of which was steeling ourselves this month, to hear ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘December Song’ streaming out of shops, cars, and radios, as it has done for decades, knowing he’s no longer here with us, missing him,” the letter read.
“This Christmas will be hard without him, but we know that we are not alone in our mourning the anniversary of his loss, and that the sadness of our wider family, and true friends, is shared by many of you. We are at ‘that age’ and realize that this year many of you will have had difficult losses too.”
The letter then detailed how much Michael loved Christmas, and encouraged fans to “raise a glass, enjoy his music and think of him fondly.”
The family also asked fans to make efforts to say “I love you” in honor of the icon, who died of heart failure at the age of 53 on Dec. 25, 2016.
“Yog shared his music with all of us, and many of you connected deeply with his words, yet in life, many hold their own important words and feelings inside, as so often they are the hardest to say out loud,” they wrote.
“So if you can, in his memory this year, take a moment and a deep breath and say those ‘I Love You’s’ out loud. We all think there is time, don’t we? -- but, just maybe, it’s later than you think…”
See more on Michael’s death in below.
EXCLUSIVE: George Michael's Former Partner, Kenny Goss, Opens Up About Singer's Lasting Legacy
WATCH: Chris Martin Delivers Touching George Michael Tribute at BRIT Awards -- Watch!