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Andrew Ridgeley opens up about George Michael's 'fitting' Brits tribute

Gemma Strong

There were tears at the Brit Awards on Wednesday night as the music world remembered the late George Michael. His Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley was joined on stage by Pepsi and Shirlie to deliver a moving and heartfelt tribute to the singer, who passed on Christmas Day at the age of 53. Their eulogy was followed by an appearance from Coldplay's Chris Martin, who performed George's 1986 hit A Different Corner, complete with taped vocals from the star. It was, Andrew has said, a fitting way to remember George.

Speaking immediately after the Brits to Capital's Roman Kemp – son of former Wham! backing singer Shirlie – Andrew said: "It was a really lovely atmosphere in the room, as your mum said previously, and it made it easier for us. It was a fitting place and a fitting occasion to give our tribute to our lovely old friend."

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Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirley paid tribute to Wham! bandmate George Michael at the Brits

Shirlie - who is married to Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp - admitted that emotions were high as the band reunited on stage for the first time since June 1986. "It was really hard to tell how it was because the emotions were so high, and paying respect to someone that you love so much, but also someone you know so personally, but everyone knows him as an artist. So I was kind of stuck in the middle of all these emotions, but I think it was a great tribute to him."

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Chris Martin performed A Different Corner in honour of the late singer

Pepsi, meanwhile, spoke about Chris Martin's performance on the night. "He was the perfect fit, and the fact that he wanted to do it was amazing because I know George just really loved his voice. So it was just perfect. But I have to say there was incredible amounts of love in the room and we really needed it."

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During his on-stage tribute at the Brits, Andrew described George as "the greatest singer-songwriter of his generation, an icon of an era, and my beloved friend". Pepsi added: "We always knew George was destined to be a star in his own right. His voice was stunning, pitch-perfect, and his performances spell-binding."

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