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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

Singer George Michael has died at the age of 53

He sold more than 100 million albums across his career.

Image: Chris Radburn/PA

SINGER GEORGE MICHAEL has died at the age of 53.

His publicist confirmed the news this evening, saying that he died ‘peacefully at home’.

There are no details yet on the cause of death, but police have said that there were no suspicious circumstances. Thames Valley Police confirmed that an ambulance was called to a house in Oxfordshire at 1.42pm today.

George Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in London, was one of the biggest pop stars of the 1980s and 1990s, first with the band Wham! and then as a solo artist. He sold more than 100 million albums across his career.

In a statement, his publicist said: ”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.”

Tributes have been paid to George Michael on social media, with many expressing shock at the singer’s death.

George Michael initially shot to fame with his schoolfriend Andrew Ridgeley as part of the duo Wham!, known for hits such as Club Tropicana, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Last Christmas.

The band was helped by the emergence of MTV and became hugely popular both on this side of the Atlantic and in the United States.

After the band broke up, George Michael shifted from being a teenage heartthrob to a superstar singer-songwriter. He had huge success as a solo artist over the next two decades with albums including Faith and Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, and was lauded by critics for his vocal range and songwriting abilities.

He had 11 number one singles in Britain and 10 number one singles in the US.

His most recent album, Symphonica, was released in 2014.

George Michael death George Michael performing during Live Aid in 1985. Source: PA

George Michael only revealed in public that he was gay in 1998 after being arrested in a public bathroom by police in Los Angeles. The star later said he had not wanted to come out while his mother, who died in 1997, was still alive.

He had had a low profile in recent years, amid concerns for his health.

He was given police cautions for cannabis and crack cocaine possession and in 2010 was sentenced to eight weeks in jail after crashing his 4×4 into a London shop while under the influence of cannabis and prescription medication.

In 2011, he announced his split with long-term partner Kenny Goss. He then spent several weeks in hospital in Vienna after contracting pneumonia, later saying he had been close to death.

Michael was due to release a documentary in 2017.

He did not shy away from discussing his private life when he did do interviews.

“People want to see me as tragic with all the cottaging and drug-taking… those things are not what most people aspire to and I think it removes people’s envy to see your weaknesses,” he told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in 2009.

“I don’t even see them as weaknesses any more. It’s just who I am.”

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