RIP George Michael: Friends And Fans Mourn Passing Of Pop Icon

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According to reports, the singer-songwriter “passed away peacefully” at home on Christmas Day.

George Michael passed away at his home in Goring, Oxfordshire, on the afternoon of December 25 from heart failure, according to the BBC and other news outlets. Michael was 53 years old.

Thames Valley police said the death was being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious” and an autopsy would be performed at a later date to determine the cause.

The singer’s publicist released the following statement: “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.”

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London to Greek Cypriot parents, Michael sold more than 100 million albums during a career that spanned nearly four decades. His last album, Symphonica, was released in 2014.

The star rose to fame in 1981 with school friend Andrew Ridgeley as part of the pop duo Wham! Although they split in 1986, Michael went on to have a highly-lucrative solo career, collaborating with the likes of Elton John, Aretha Franklin and Queen.

Although he had frequent brushes with the law, including a highly-publicized arrest in Los Angeles in 1998, his fans forgave and forgot, especially after his cheeky single “Outside” which poked fun as his arrest for public lewdness and resulted in his acknowledgement of his homosexuality.

Upon news of Michael’s passing, tributes to the star poured in from around the entertainment world: