Singer-songwriter George Michael, who sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the duo Wham! and on his own, was found dead on December 25 at his home in Oxfordshire, England.
Police are describing the death as “unexplained but not suspicious”. He was 53.
George’s manager, Michael Lippman, told The Hollywood Reporter that he had died of heart failure “in bed, lying peacefully.”
“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,” his publicist Connie Filippello said in a statement.
“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage,” the statement further reads, reports nytimes.com.
What are thought to be the last pictures of singer-songwriter George Michael, feature him dining with his friends.
The reclusive star was spotted dining at a restaurant in Oxfordshire on September 14 this year, reports mirror.co.uk.
Last month, Michael was reported to have rekindled his friendship with the man he declared the love of his life, Kenny Goss. The couple were together for 13 years before their split in 2009.
Michael’s last tweet was in September, but last month, a post on his Facebook page said he was “busy putting the finishing touches to his special documentary film ‘Freedom’.”
George Michael had once said that he had spent the past 20 years trying to sabotage his glittering career via a series of humiliating drug and sex scandals.
“But my career just seems to right itself like a plastic duck in a bath and, in some ways, I resent that,” he said.
Michael, who wrote and performed pop classics including ‘Careless whisper’, ‘Praying for time’ and ‘Faith’, said that he suffered from two afflictions - ‘grief and self-abuse’, reports dailymail.co.uk.
He would smoke enormous amounts of marijuana - up to 25 joints a day at some points in his career. He also struggled with depression, following the death of his lover Anselmo Feleppa from an HIV-related illness in 1993, and of his mother, of cancer, in 1997.
In the year 2011, he had decided he should stop making such a mess of his life, and move forward. The final straw had been his jailing, for a second drug-driving offence, in September 2011.
The singer, who had dropped out of public view after releasing his last album ‘Symphonica’ in March 2014, was said to be smoking crack cocaine again.
Michael has sold more than 80 million records worldwide in a career spanning four decades. He was one of pop’s reigning stars in the 1980s and ‘90s and some of his popular singles includes ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ with Wham!. Later he released a pop album in 1987 titled ‘Faith.’
He won a Grammy Award in 1988 for ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me),’ a duet with Aretha Franklin, and ‘Faith’ won the Grammy for album of the year.
Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Bryan Adams among others mourned the death of George Michael.
Michael’s friends and fellow musicians took to social media to mourn the ‘Last Christmas’ hitmaker’s death:
James Corden: I’ve loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time.
Ryan Reynolds: George Michael was a kind and gentle soul. Wham.
Duran Duran: 2016 - loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to George Michael’s family.
Miley Cyrus: Miss you already! Thank you for your radical activism in the LGBTQ community! Love you always.
Ellen DeGeneres: I just heard about my friend George Michael’s death. He was such a brilliant talent. I’m so sad.
Bryan Adams: I can’t believe it. Such an incredible singer and a lovely human being, far too young to leave us.
Madonna: Farewell My Friend! Another great artiste leaves us. Can 2016 f*** off now?
Macklemore: Finished the prime rib... now onto blasting George Michael and doing the dishes.
Leona Lewis: So sad to hear of George Michael passing. Beautiful inside and out. Thank you for the music.
Alesso: Wow RIP George Michael! What an icon to music! Been a fan since my dad played his music! Wow 2016 is not a year I wanna remember.
Mark Ronson: Right here, where the horns come in, is one of the moments that made me want to make music when I grew up.
Bollywood also got emotional and bid adieu to the pop superstar. Celebrities including Karan Johar, A R Rahman, Abhishek Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Vishal Dadlani, Dia Mirza among others mourned Grammy-winner George Michael’s sudden demise.
Taking to Twitter celebrities paid tribute to the British pop singer and thanked him for his contribution to the world of music.
Oscar-winning composer Rahman wrote, “RIP George Michael... Your music will stay with us forever...”
Filmmaker Johar said, “The irony of life....’Last Christmas’ RIP GEORGE MICHAEL... Thank you for the music and the memories...”
Bachchan tweeted, “Because you gotta have faith! RIP George Michael.”
Remembering his greatest hits of all time, Rampal wrote, “From ‘Faith’ to finding his ‘Freedom’ on his ‘Last Christmas’.”