Pop icon George Michael passed away on Christmas Day. File picture: AP

London – A private funeral was held for British pop singer George Michael on Wednesday, his publicists said.

"Family and close friends gathered for the small, private ceremony to say goodbye to their beloved son, brother and friend," London-based Connie Filippello Publicity said in a statement.

It said Michael's family wanted to thank his fans across the world "for their many messages of love and support," adding that the family would not release any further details of the funeral.

The London Evening Standard said Michael's recent boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz, joined "a number of Michael's high profile friends, rumoured to include Kate Moss and Martin Kemp" at the event.

The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon at Highgate Cemetery in north London, where many notable people, including German social philosopher Karl Marx, are buried, the newspaper said.

Highgate Cemetery in London Picture: Neil Hall/Reuters

Michael, 53, was found dead at his home in the English county of Oxfordshire, west of London, on Christmas Day.

A post mortem concluded that he died of natural causes linked to heart and liver problems.

Musicians from Britain and around the world had paid tribute to Michael, who sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career spanning almost four decades.

The son of a Greek Cypriot father and British mother, his real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.

He rose to fame as a member of 1980s pop duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley, known for their hits "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Club Tropicana" and "Last Christmas."