George Michael, a British singer who became one of the pop idols of the 1980s with Wham! died at his home in England on Sunday. He was 53.
Wham! was one of the most successful pop duos ever in the mid-1980s, ahead even of Simon & Garfunkel, with singles like ”Careless Whisper”, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “The Edge of Heaven” and “Last Christmas”.
“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 statement 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,”
British police said Michael’s death was “unexplained but not suspicious.”
“I am in deep shock,” said Elton John. “I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.”
George Michael was born June 25, 1963, in London to Greek Cypriot immigrant parents in a flat above a north London laundrette, Michael once played music on the London underground train system before finding fame with Wham!.
George formed Wham! in 1981 with a school friend, Andrew Ridgeley, a partnership that would produce some of the most memorable pop songs and dance-floor favourites of the 1980s.