LONDON: British pop singer George Michael, who rose to fame with the band Wham! and sold more than 100 million albums in his career, has died aged 53, his publicist said on Sunday.
“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 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 publicist said.
Thames Valley Police said the ambulance service had attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire, where the singer lived, at 1342 GMT on Sunday, the BBC reported.
They said they were treating the death as unexplained but there were no suspicious circumstances.
Michael was due to release a documentary in 2017 after a period of living as a virtual recluse in which he hit the headlines for a series of bizarre incidents linked to drugs.
Earlier this month it was also announced that producer and songwriter Naughty Boy was working with Michael on a new album to come out next year.
Michael was best known for his “Club Tropicana”, “Last Christmas”, “Careless Whisper” and “Faith”.
“2016 – loss of another talented soul. All our love and sympathy to George Michael´s family,” the band Duran Duran, which were 1980s contemporaries of Wham!, said on their official Twitter account.
Former BBC Radio One disc jockey Tony Blackburn said: “Unbelievable, George Michael has died at the age of 53. RIP. This dreadful year goes on and on. So sad, a real talent”.
Several iconic British musicians have died in 2016 including David Bowie in January and Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, who died in a Spanish hospital on Saturday.