- Publish Date
- Monday, 26 December 2016, 12:21PM
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.
Michael died at his home in Goring, England. His death is being treated by UK police as "unexplained but not suspicious".
His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill.
"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 confirmed 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."
In an interview with Billboard, Michael's long-time manager Michael Lippman said he died of heart failure.
"I'm devastated," he said.
"(There was) no foul play whatsoever."
Thames Valley Police said they were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2pm, adding: "Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene.
"At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post-mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post-mortem has taken place."
George Michael is a musical great known for both his chart-topping hits and his turbulent personal life, George Michael was a giant of popular culture.
The Wham! singer and solo performer enjoyed a glittering chart career, having sold more than 100 million records including seven number one singles in the UK, with tracks such as Careless Whisper and Faith.
He carved out an international name for himself, but brushes with the law and tales of his drug use increasingly made more impact than his musical output.
The hit machine slowed, chart positions faltered and incidents of drug possession, driving offences and personal problems became the chief reasons for his occasional returns to the spotlight.
Michael entered a period of semi-retirement in 2008, quitting live performances and seeking a "quieter life" out of the public eye.
Michael - born Georgios Panayiotou - began his career by playing Queen songs as a busker on the London Underground.
He found fame as a teenager in the early 1980s after forming Wham! with school friend Andrew Ridgeley.
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of the British group WHAM! perform during a concert in Peking, China. Photo / AP
The pair enjoyed hit after hit, including Club Tropicana, Young Guns (Go For It) and Last Christmas.
But they decided to bow out at the top, pulling the plug on their partnership with a final chart-topping single The Edge Of Heaven in 1986 and triumphant Wembley shows.
Michael then embarked on a hugely successful solo career, plus occasional collaborations with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Sir Elton John and Queen, after the death of Freddie Mercury.
Health scares dogged the last decade of his life.
Last year he publicly denied new allegations about drug-taking, describing them as "highly inaccurate".
The star nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011. After receiving treatment in a Vienna hospital, Michael made a tearful appearance outside his London home just before Christmas and said it had been 'touch and go' whether he lived.
But he was to return to hospital just 18 months later with a head head injury following a bizarre incident on the M1 motorway when he fell from his vehicle on to the tarmac.
Michael had been looking to the future shortly before his death, with a documentary film entitled Freedom due for release next March.
He died peacefully at his home over the festive period, the star's publicist announced on Christmas Day.