In a statement posted on Michael’s official website, his family shared a childhood photo of the singer and spoke about marking their first Christmas without “Yog.”
“This year has been a series of new and tough challenges for those of us close and loyal to Yog, not least of which was steeling ourselves this month, to hear ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘December Song’ streaming out of shops, cars, and radios, as it has done for decades, knowing he’s no longer here with us, missing him,” they wrote. “This Christmas will be hard without him, but we know that we are not alone in our mourning the anniversary of his loss, and that the sadness of our wider family, and true friends, is shared by many of you.”
The statement continues, “Yog shared his music with all of us, and many of you connected deeply with his words, yet in life, many hold their own important words and feelings inside, as so often they are the hardest to say out loud.”
“So if you can, in his memory this year, take a moment and a deep breath and say those ‘I Love You’s’ out loud. We all think there is time, don’t we? – but, just maybe, it’s later than you think…”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.