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London, England

George Michael Memorial

An unsanctioned shrine that sprung up outside the late singer's home is causing a stir in London's Highgate neighborhood. 

Just a short walk away from Highgate Cemetery, one of London’s creepiest Victorian graveyards, is another, smaller memorial to the dearly departed. Since December of 2016, a guerrilla shrine of sorts has sprouted atop a patch of land outside George Michael’s former home.

Fans of the late Wham! singer have been honoring his memory with flowers, flags, poetry, candles, and a host of other offerings. They’ve transformed the small slice of private property into a public memorial garden. It’s a place to both mourn and celebrate a life lost too soon.

More than a year after the singer’s death, heartbroken fans from around the world still come, leaving mounds of tokens in their wake. According to the Guardian, the number of people who visit the unsanctioned shrine now surpasses the number of those who drop by Highgate Cemetery to see the grave of Karl Marx.

Residents of the Highgate neighborhood—a posh, dignified area of London—aren’t quite pleased with the garden’s steady stream of attention. They view the piles of wilted flowers and soggy cards as an eyesore, and aren’t thrilled with the volume of people who continue flocking to the small park.

The shrine’s fate is, at the moment, uncertain. Fans have petitioned to have a statue erected in lieu of the often messy, mucky memorial garden. But, as the singer was a private person, his family decided against the proposal. George Michael is buried at the nearby Highgate cemetery, in an unmarked grave to protect his and his family’s privacy.