George Michael, former Wham! member and pop star, has passed away at the age of 53. The singer’s publicist reported that he passed away peacefully at his home according to BBC News:
Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT.
Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.
The star’s publicist also released a statement on the passing, asking for peace at this time:
“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 broke through with Wham! — making a big splash with hits like “Freedom,” “Careless Whisper” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” — before leaving for solo success and an iconic string of songs that were mainstays of the MTV era in the 1980s. Videos for “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex” highlighted the sexuality in his solo career, while he would end up stepping away from a starring role in his videos in lieu of some supermodels for “Freedom ’90.” His later career was possibly overshadowed by high-profile run-ins with the law, but the singer’s talents and accomplishments wouldn’t be forgotten.
Michael sold more than 100 million albums during his career and was working on a new album to be released in the near future according to BBC News. Many have already started to share their shock and dismay at another death in 2016, especially for a talent such as Michael. The irony of him dying at Christmas — what with Wham’s “Last Christmas” being one of the most popular modern Christmas songs — is just too cruel to contemplate.
Michael’s former Wham! bandmate, Andrew Ridgeley, expressed his sorrow via a short statement posted to Twitter.