A year following his passing on Christmas of 2016, George Michael's family paid tribute to the late music icon with a tender letter shared on Michael's web site.

"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," the statement read.

"Yog [a nickname derived from Michael's Greek name, Georgios], 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," the letter continued.

"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…"

Michael passed away at the age of 53 on December 25, 2016. He was found by his partner Fadi Fawaz, who described Michael as looking "peaceful" when he discovered him lying unresponsive in bed at his home in Goring-on-Thames, England.

Following further postmortem tests conducted in March 2017, Michael's cause of death was determined as natural causes resulting from a dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition which impacts the heart's ability to pump blood.

Get the Official River Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest Minnesota & music news in your inbox a couple times a week. If we're not awesome, drop us like a hot potato.