Samir Hussein/Redferns via Getty ImagesAs fans and the music world continues to mourn George Michael, who died Christmas Day at age 53, his former partner and lover, Kenny Goss, has finally issued a statement via his rep.

“I’m heartbroken with the news that my dear friend and longtime love George Michael has passed,” the statement begins. “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 began their relationship in 1996 and at one time were talking about entering into a civil partnership in the U.K. Michael announced in 2011 that they’d broken up two years earlier.

Another person weighing in on Michael is music great Aretha Franklin, who shared a Grammy with Michael for their 1987 duet “I Knew You Were Waiting.” She tells ABC News, “He was on the money. He made such a tremendous contribution, musically. It’s a huge loss.”

Typically, when we lose a music great, there’s an immediate spike in sales and streams of their music catalog, and Michael’s no exception. Billboard reports streams of George’s solo music on Spotify the day after his passing increased 3,158% globally, compared to just before his death. The #1 most-streamed song was “Faith,” the title track from his 1987 debut solo album.

We’re also getting word of Michael’s incredibly generous philanthropic work, which he by accounts went to great lengths to keep completely quiet — giving thousands to strangers in need and millions to needy organizations, performing free concerts, and working anonymously at a homeless shelter.

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