It was reported on December 25th, 2016 that George Michael, 53, “passed away peacefully” of heart failure at his home in Goring, England.
In a statement released from his publicist, “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.”
George Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, whose launch to stardom was part of the duo Wham! in the 1980s followed up by a hugely successful and occasionally controversial career. According to Wikipedia, “Michael sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith, sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Michael garnered seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, including “Careless Whisper” and “Freedom! ’90”. He ranks among the best-selling British acts of all time, with Billboard magazine ranking him the 40th-most successful artist to ever live.”
George Michael also gave generously to charity and was a well-respected artist and LGBT rights advocate. In 1998 Michael came out as gay and after an incident in Beverly Hills and in the 2000s he would suffer a string of drug-related arrests. All that aside, he will be remembered for his music and message of tolerance and his unapologetic brashness as displayed in Time Out magazine article from 2007:
“I think at the end of it all I represent something profoundly different for society,’ he muses. ‘I have grown up surrounded by people who think that sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll is compatible with a working life while being married with children. During the 1980s, my generation and the one after me, found that it was impossible. Me, I don’t want any children, I don’t want responsibility. I am gay, I smoke weed and I do exactly what I want in my life because of my talent. I represent an ideal which others have had to let go and they blame me for that. Especially men.”
Live Without Prejudice pic.twitter.com/nKRYtq6ULa
— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) June 28, 2015
George Michael “Faith”
George Michael “Freedom”
George Michael “I Want Your Sex”
George Michael “Father Figure”
Rest in peace George. You were always one of the greatest.
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) December 26, 2016
I just heard about my friend @GeorgeMichael‘s death. He was such a brilliant talent. I’m so sad.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 25, 2016
Oh God no …I love you George …Rest In Peace x
— Robbie Williams (@robbiewilliams) December 26, 2016
I’ve loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time.
— James Corden (@JKCorden) December 25, 2016
Is this year over yet? Too many people are passing away. Rest In Peace, George Michael. ☹️
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 25, 2016
Very sad to hear that George Michael passed. He was a very talented musician and singer. Love & mercy to his family, friends and fans.
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) December 25, 2016
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) December 25, 2016