By Scott T. Sterling

George Michael’s family shared a heartfelt message to fans on the anniversary of his passing. The pop star passed away on Christmas Day of 2016 from natural causes at age 53.

Related: George Michael Celebrated in Nostalgic New ‘Fantasy’ Video

“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,” reads the message, referring to the singer by his famous nickname.

“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.”

“Yog, who loved Christmas, and always hoped it would snow… would want each of you that admired and loved him, (yes—he knows you did!!) to take a moment, raise a glass, enjoy his music and think of him fondly, making sure to enjoy your time with, and appreciate your family and friends.”

See the full message from Michael’s family on his official website.

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