Legendary pop singer George Michael, who achieved planetary fame as part of the duo Wham! and during an illustrious solo career has passed away aged 53. It has been reported that Michael, born Georgios Kyriakos Panagiotou died of heart failure.
The police have reported that Michael, who was regarded as a sex symbol during his heyday, was found dead in his Oxfordshire home in southeastern England. According to a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter and the U.K. Press Association by his longtime manager Michael Lippman, that the pop star died peacefully in his bed in and his death is being classified as “unexplained but not suspicious.”
Michael’s publicist confirmed his death on Christmas Day by issuing the following statement:
“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,”
George Michael performs at an AIDS charity concert during the Symphonica tour at Palais Garnier Opera house in Paris. AP
“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
On Monday, fans gathered spontaneously outside Michael’s home to lay flowers, light candles and share their memories of his long career.
A man lays a picture of himself and George Michael in front of Michael’s home in London, England. Jack Taylor / Getty Images
“Farewell My Friend! Another Great Artist leaves us,” tweeted Madonna.
“Having worked with him on a number of occasions his great talent always shone through and his self deprecating sense of humour made the experience even more pleasurable,” Paul McCartney wrote on his website.
Andrew Ridgeley, Michael’s bandmate in Wham!, said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend” on Twitter.
He added, “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved.”
According to a statement given by local police, an autopsy will be performed.
“Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring on Thames shortly before 2 p.m.( 9 a.m. ET) Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene.”
At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious,” the statement continued. “A post mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post mortem has taken place.”
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael at Wham!’s last concert at Wembley Stadium, London, on June 28, 1986 Roger Bamber/REX/Shutterstock / Shutterstock
“I have lost a beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist,” Elton John wrote on Instagram.
Michael suffered a serious bout of pneumonia in the fall of 2011, during which it was reported he was being ‘near-death’.On his return from Vienna, Austria where he was treated for his condition in December 2011, he told reporters:They spent three weeks keeping me alive basically. I don’t want to take you through all of it because some of it I want to protect my family from and I’m sure I’ll get it all written down, but it was basically by far the worst month of my life.
Michael began his career in the duo Wham! in the 1980s, releasing timeless pop hits such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” and “Last Christmas” and was still going strong well into the 1990s after he began his solo career with the chart-topping record “Faith” in 1987.Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was born on June 25, 1963, in London, to a Cypriot Greek immigrant father and a British mother.
For many a year Michael’s sexuality was an open question and rumors continued to swirl until an incident in 1998 when he was arrested for a “lewd act” about Michael’s sexuality swirled until he was arrested in 1998 for indecent behavior in a public park restroom in Beverly Hills, California.
In an interview with the Independent in 2007, Michael confessed that the act that got him arrested and subsequently made him come out regarding his homosexuality might have been “subconsciously deliberate” and that he had felt like a fraud for hiding his sexual orientation.