“I am thinking of George Michael’s family, friends and fans right now,” Boy George wrote on Twitter. “He was so loved and I hope he knew it because the sadness today is beyond words. Devastating. What a beautiful voice he had and his music will live on as a testament to his talent. I can’t believe he is gone. I hope the Buddha will hold him in his arms. NMRK.”
The “NMRK” refers to, “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō,” a central chant in Nichiren Buddhism that expresses determination and devotion to overcoming suffering, and a vow to achieve happiness and help others find it.
Both Michael and Boy George rose to prominence in the Eighties, the former as a member of the pop duo Wham! and the latter as the singer of Culture Club. Both embarked on solo careers towards the end of the decade as well. The duo performed together as part of Band Aid’s 1984 Christmas charity single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2014 about his competition in 1984, Boy George jokingly said, “When George Michael came along I was like, ‘He’s called George? That’s not allowed!”
Boy George joins a growing list of artists who have paid their respects to Michael, who died of apparent heart failure on December 25th. Paul McCartney wrote on his website that Michael’s “great talent always shone through and his self deprecating sense of humour made the experience even more pleasurable.”
Queen guitarist Brian May also offered a touching note about the singer, who famously performed with the band during the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992. “This year has cruelly taken so many fine people way too young,” May wrote. “And George? That gentle boy? All that beautiful talent? Can’t begin to compute this. RIP George. Sing with Freddie. And the Angels.”