Mariah Carey says the death of George Michael ''really took a toll'' on her.

The 'We Belong Together' hitmaker admits she was shocked by the Wham! singer's death in December 2016 because she thought he would ''be OK''.

She said: ''It's really about a great support system and working with people who understand and try to create a good environment. Hopefully, those people will also understand stress is really a killer. When we have lost some of our greatest, it's really taken a toll on me, as someone who grew up watching them and being inspired by them. You mentioned George Michael. I remember before my first album, even in high school, the Faith album, I looked at that and said, 'I want to make an album that crosses all these genres.' We had a lot of things in common in terms of record company political stuff. I remember this one dinner that we had. We were both talking about really difficult stuff that we'd been through. And when he passed away on that Christmas, I couldn't believe it because I thought he would be able to be OK.''

And the 48-year-old singer ''missed out on a lot of things'' when she was growing up because of her star status and admits she felt like ''Rapunzel in a castle''.

She added to Pitchfork: ''I missed out on a lot of things and I was enormously blessed with a lot of things ... In the early part of my success, I was cloistered. I was like a Rapunzel in a castle kept away from the world, so I didn't get to feel famous. I just felt like, 'OK, I'll go out there when they tell me it's time to go sing, and then I'll come back here and sit in the house.' The beginning of my career was bleak, because I was surrounded by everybody who was so much older than me, and I wasn't really allowed to have fun. The big boys were always in control.''