Martin Kemp looking to camera and with wife Shirlie

Martin Kemp book: Star admits crushing ‘family’ loss as he details death of his ‘best friend’

Christmas is a sad time for the singer and his loved ones

Martin Kemp released a new book earlier this month, Ticket to the World, in which he looks back at his life as part of 1980s band Spandau Ballet.

Of course, it was thanks to his career as a pop star that he met wife Shirlie, through their good friend George Michael.

And now, almost six years on from his Christmas Day death, Martin has reflected on the loss of George, a man he called “family” and his “best friend”.

Martin Kemp smiling with wife Shirlie
It was thanks to George that Martin met his wife Shirlie (Credit: Splash News)

Martin Kemp releases new book

Ticket to the World – a phrase featured in the hit Spandau song True – was released earlier this month.

And, to promote it, Martin spoke to OK! about the autobiography.

As well as admitting that he probably owes lead singer Tony Hadley an “apology” for his behaviour, Martin also spoke about George.

Of course, George introduced Martin and Shirlie – who was one of his backing singers in the band Wham!.

On the death of George Michael

Christmas is a poignant time for the Kemp family after George died on Christmas Day 2016.

He was aged just 53 and was a close friend of the family. In fact, Martin has said they considered George “family”.

It wasn’t about George Michael, it was about losing a member of our family, which he was.

“He was one of my best friends. It was a tough period of our lives,” Martin admitted.

“It wasn’t about George Michael, it was about losing a member of our family, which he was.”

Martin also opened up about the kind of man that George was.

“He was a wonderful human being. He was the most generous man, with not just his time, his money but also his emotion. We miss him dearly,” he said.

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A post shared by Martin Kemp (@martinjkemp)

George Michael and Roman Kemp

The singer was also godfather to Martin’s son Roman Kemp.

However, writing in his joint autobiography with wife Shirlie, Martin admitted that a young Roman almost drowned at a pool party at George’s house.

The group were in St Tropez, in the South of France, when the accident happened.

“Just as I allowed myself to nod off I suddenly found myself sitting bolt upright,” Martin wrote.

“I hadn’t heard a sound or seen a splash, but when I looked at the pool I realised Roman was under the water, not moving.”

Thankfully Roman was fine, but that didn’t stop Martin pondering the what ifs.

“I was devastated. For the next couple of days, I found myself crying almost constantly,” he said.

George Michael smiling in sunglasses
In his book, Martin Kemp reflects on his friendship with the late George Michael (Credit: Splash News)

How did George Michael die?

George was aged just 53 when he died on Christmas Day in 1953.

The iconic singer was found dead in his bed by his partner Fadi Fawaz.

It was later revealed that George’s death was due to dilated cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscles – with myocarditis and a fatty liver.

He was buried in Highgate Cemetery, alongside his beloved mother.

His sister Melanie, who died exactly three years later, is buried alongside the pair.

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor