Singer George Michael, who became famous in the 1980s with pop group Wham! before forging a career as a successful solo artist, has died at his home in Oxfordshire, England, aged 53.
His manager Michael Lippman, said on Sunday that the cause of death was heart failure.
Prior to Lippmann’s announcement, police had issued a statement calling Michael’s death at his home in Goring, Oxfordshire “unexplained but not suspicious”. They also said that a post-mortem would be undertaken in due course.
Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was born on June 25, 1963 in London to Greek Cypriot parents. He used to play music on the London underground tube system before finding fame with Wham!.
The Guardian reports:
Michael’s former Wham! bandmate wrote on Twitter that he was “heartbroken by the loss of my friend” who would be “4ever loved”. (Elton) John, another friend and collaborator, wrote on Instagram of his “deep shock” at the loss of “the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist”.
Wham! star and solo artist famous for hits including Last Christmas, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Careless Whisper sold more than 100m albums
Michael “passed away peacefully” at home, according to his publicist. His manager, Michael Lippman, said the singer had died from heart failure in bed.
Michael, who was set to release a documentary in 2017, rose to fame as half of Wham!, known for their hits Club Tropicana and Last Christmas. He had a highly successful solo career that included the songs Careless Whisper, Faith, Outside and Freedom! 90.
Michael – who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou – had 11 UK No 1s and sold more than 100m albums during a career spanning almost four decades. His last album, Symphonica, was released in 2014.
Thames Valley police said an ambulance had attended a house on 25 December in Goring, Oxfordshire, at 1.42pm. They said the death was being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious” and they would not comment further until after a postmortem.
In a statement, the star’s publicist said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
Michael’s death prompted an outpouring of emotional tributes with musicians, celebrities and politicians posting their memories of Michael on social media.
Michael was pro- Palestinian and a vigorous opponent of the 2003 Iraq War.
In 2002 he released “Shoot the Dog,” a song lampooning the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s close relationship with former President George W. Bush.
The video to accompany the song caused a wave of controversy as it portrayed Blair as Bush’s poodle.
The death of George Michael comes near the end of a year that has seen the passing of several music legends, including David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen.
On Saturday Rick Parfitt, the guitarist of British rock group Status Quo also died