SCOTS stars from the world of entertainment including Annie Lennox, Lulu and Midge Ure have paid their tributes to George Michael who died on Christmas Day aged 53.

The death of the music legend from a suspected heart failure is being treated by police as "unexplained but not suspicious".

Michael, who rose to fame as the front man of Wham! and had chart-topping hits including Last Christmas, died peacefully at home, his publicist said.

The star - whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou - died at his home in Goring-on-Thames.

His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill.

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Michael's manager, Michael Lippman, said Michael, who achieved global fame as a solo artist with hits such as Faith and Careless Whisper, died of heart failure "in bed, lying peacefully".

Annie Lennox, the Scots half of the Eurythmics, who performed on the bill for of the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley said she was "very sad and shocked" to hear of the news of Michael's death.

Stars from Scotland joined the world in paying tribute to the pop superstar and gay rights champion, Lennox, who presented a Song of the Year Grammy with Michael to Bruce Springsteen in 1995 while wearing Mickey Mouse ears added: "He meant such a lot to the millions of people who loved and appreciated his music everywhere around the world."

Singer Lulu: "Soooo sad another brilliant artist gone..a sweet, sensitive and soulful man."

Ultravox singer Midge Ure who helped organise the Band Aid charity supergroup that performed Do They Know it's Christmas? and the follow-on 1985 Live Aid concert for Ethiopia of which Michael was an integral part was equally stunned.

HeraldScotland: Midge Ure.jpg

He said on social media: "Ex-Wham singer George Michael dies. This is just too much now!"

Singer Eddi Reader, formerly with Fairground Attraction referred to the curse of 2016, which has seen so many stars of the world of entertainment die, said: "WHAT!!!??? George ???? Nooo what on earth is going on? Shocking. I'm painting crosses on my door."

Singer KT Tunstall used more colourful language to articulate her shock, before adding: " So sad, what a genius legend. I grew up with him and loved his music so much." Norman Blake of indie rock band Teenage FanClub simply said: "Oh no. He later posted Michael's hit Faith on Twitter adding: "What a great tune".

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had resorted to listening to Best of George Michael, which she described as a "masterpiece" after hearing the news.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon

"This is just too awful. Such an amazing talent gone too soon. Wham was part of the soundtrack to my teenage years," she explained.

Outside of Michael's home in Oxfordshire, fans gathered to lay flowers and candles in his honor. Singers shared their condolences and memories of him.

Farewell My Friend! Another Great Artist leaves us," tweeted Madonna.

"Having worked with him on a number of occasions his great talent always shone through and his self deprecating sense of humour made the experience even more pleasurable," Paul McCartney wrote on his website.

Michael's former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, said on Twitter he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend."

He added, "Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved."

Elton John added: "I have lost a beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist."

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George Michael has been praised for his work as a prominent gay rights campaigner.

The former pop pin-up, who died from heart failure on Christmas Day aged 53, had been a fervent support of LGBT issues, with some of his most famous solo work referencing his sexuality.

LGBT charity Stonewall tweeted their sadness at the news of his death, writing: "R.I.P. George Michael. You inspired many and your music will live on in the hearts of the community. You will be sorely missed."

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who said he first met Michael around 1980 when he was "still a teenager and before he was famous" said that in the 1980s he chose not to reveal that he was gay because he feared a negative reaction from his parents, fans, record company and, particularly, the tabloid press.

"I wish George had come out then. He could have helped counter that tide of prejudice. But I understand why he didn't," he said