Goss, who was long described as the love of Michael’s life, tells E! News in a statement that he is in disbelief about what has happened. “I’m heartbroken with the news that my dear friend and long time love George Michael has passed,” he says. “He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. He was an extremely kind and generous man. The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him.”
Michael and Goss first got together in 1998 and were together for about 13 years, but even after breaking up they supported each other. When Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, contracted a near-death bout of pneumonia in 2011, Goss flew to Austria to visit him. Michael called the odds of his recovery “touch and go,” but he ultimately pulled through.
Michael’s longtime manager, Michael Lippman told The Hollywood Reporter that he was found “in bed, lying peacefully” and that died of heart failure. The Recording Academy released the following statement in the wake of Michael’s death:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of two-time Grammy Award recipient George Michael. During an influential career that spanned nearly four decades, George became one of the most beloved pop craftsmen and respected entertainers.
“From the enormous success he achieved with pop duo Wham! to his influential solo career, his extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless entertainers worldwide, and his creative contributions will live on forever. We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to George’s family, friends, and musical collaborators. He will be missed.”