Christmas Day will mark the three-year anniversary of George Michael's death
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George Michael‘s family is feeling extra thankful for his fans as the three-year anniversary of his death approaches on Christmas Day.

On Monday, the late singer’s sisters Melanie and Yioda, his father Jack and longtime manager David Austin shared a statement to his official website saying they’ve “come to fully appreciate (although we already knew really), quite how much love there is out there in the world, for both Yog [which is Michael’s nickname] and his beautiful music” in the years since his death in 2016.

“We know how much his lyrics can offer support when things are tough and help celebrate when times are good and life is going well… and that is just as powerful now as if he were still with us and as many of you say in your messages, it’s a gift,” they wrote. “It seems important that his generosity of spirit and natural empathy have touched you in a way that would have him embarrassed, all your kind words are really good to hear and we know you have always known his true heart.”

George Michael
Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Michael’s relatives then went on to thank fans for embracing the recent film Last Christmas, which was named after one of Michael’s biggest hits and is based on his music. The film — which was released in November and stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding — also features a previously unreleased song that Michael had co-written in 2015, titled, “This Is How (We Want You to Get High).”

“Thank you for embracing and supporting the ‘Last Christmas’ movie and soundtrack, we knew you would enjoy it!! ‘This Is How’ is good, isn’t it?? We love that you love it, as would Yog,” they wrote. “Everyone has been working so hard to bring you his music, the movie is going to be there to celebrate and remember Yog and his music well into the future…and we thank everyone whose efforts brought his music to you.”

In addition, Michael’s relatives wrote that they will be “swerving the bad and enjoying the good” as much as they can in the New Year, adding “2019 has been difficult and busy for George’s hardworking team.”

“We are, as usual, staying as positive as possible, which is what we and Yog would wish for you all, and we are all hoping for a peaceful 2020. (Wow 2020! – when you grew up with Yog, that used to seem so far away but, here we are folks – It’s the future)!!!” they wrote. “We’ll close by saying, don’t forget to say your ‘I Love You’s’ and enjoy your celebrations wherever you are. Thank you so much for your kind messages, they lift us when things are tough.”

“Keep on doing those good deeds in his memory, ‘paying it forward’ if you can,” they continued. “‘Take Care’ he says from up there in the stars, with mum, Anselmo, and his beloved doggies.”

George Michael
George Michael
| Credit: George Michael, studio portrait, London, 1987. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

In closing, they wrote, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and celebrations to you all – we send our best from here in London! Melanie, Yioda, Jack & David x.”

Michael was 53 years old when he died; he died of natural causes and suffered a dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the coroner revealed in March 2017.