British singer and songwriter George Michael died on Sunday, 25 December, at the age of 53.
The pop superstar originally started his career in the 1980s with pop group Wham! He “passed away peacefully at home”, according to early reports on Christmas Day.
Thames Valley Police say the South Central Ambulance Service was called to Michael’s property in Goring, Oxfordshire at 13.42hrs on Christmas Day.
His manager, Michael Lippman, said he had died of heart failure.
Born as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, the ‘Faith’ and ‘Last Christmas’ singer was professionally known as George Michael.
Selling over 100 million records worldwide, Michael is had huge success throughout his career as a solo performer. He ranks amongst the best-selling British acts of all time, with Billboard magazine ranking him the 40th-most successful artist ever.
Former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley tweeted that he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend”.
Referring to Michael by his family nickname of “Yog”, Ridgeley shared his sadness with the world. “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”, he wrote on Twitter.
After inspiring numerous singers and songwriters, Michael’s death has sent a shockwave across the music world and his fan base. British pop sensation Sam Smith tweeted, “Words can’t express how much you and your music meant and means to me”. He added “Please play his music as loud as you can today…”
Last performing in Manchester in 2012, his performances didn’t dwindle with age as fans have confirmed on social media. “So sad to hear of George Michael’s death. I saw him on the Symphonica Tour @ManchesterArena in 2012. What an entertainer. #ripgeorgemichael”, @pdratcliffe said.
Michael’s family announced news of his death in a statement issued through the singer’s publicist.
“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,” it said.
“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage”.