Pop singer George Michael, who had a successful solo career and numerous hits as half of the 1980s duo Wham including the song Last Christmas , has died "over the Christmas period" at the age of 53.

Michael, whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, died at his home in Goring, England. His publicist, Cindi Berger, said he had not been ill.
His manager, Michael Lippman, said the singer died of heart failure, The Telegraph reported.

A statement from his family said Michael "passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period," and asked that their privacy be "respected at this difficult and emotional time."

Thames Valley Police say the death "is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious." An autopsy will take place in the coming days and police say they won't give an update until those results come in.

Ridgeley, who last performed with Michael in 1991, said he was "heartbroken" and "cleft with grief" over Michael's death.
Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx twitter.com/twittermoments…
1:17 AM - 26 Dec 2016
Andrew Ridgeley
God didn't give it, you did my old friend.
Cleft with grief.
A xx twitter.com/bbcworld/statu…
5:12 AM - 26 Dec 2016
Andrew Ridgeley

Michael was in the middle of finishing a documentary project about his music called Freedom that was expected to air in March of 2017.
Michael's family said in their statement they will not provide any further comment concerning his death.

Elton John, who performed the duet
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me with Michael in 1991, said he was "in deep shock."
"I have lost a beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist," John posted on Instagram.
Bryan Adams, Meat Loaf and Carpool Karaoke host James Corden also shared tributes to the late artist.
"He was an absolute inspiration," Corden wrote on Twitter. "Always ahead of his time."
I've loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time.
12:47 AM - 26 Dec 2016
James Corden
God Bless George Michael , Say a prayer for him . A nice human .
12:44 AM - 26 Dec 2016
Meat Loaf
RIP George Michael. I can't believe it. Such an incredible singer and a lovely human being, far too young to leave us
12:52 AM - 26 Dec 2016
Bryan Adams

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